Beer Review: Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout of (gasp!) Green Bay

Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout

A session stout brewed with coffee from Hinterland Brewing of Green Bay

I've enjoyed ragging on the Packers this week as much as the next Bears fan. But in light of recent events, I've deciding that I too should to be more civil in my discourse. So I'm about to say something nice about something that was made in Green Bay, and it ain't cheese!

I am in admiration, and slightly jealous, of the beer scene in Wisconsin. Seems brewpubs and bars carrying exclusive Wisconsin brands can be found on nearly every numbered highway. Old local brands are being resurrected for the nostalgics. It's only been in the past two years that Chicago's craft beer scene has been growing at a similar pace. And Titletown Brewing in Green Bay hired away Todd Ashman, founding brewmaster at Flossmoor Station (he left less than a year later, and I won't speculate why).

I made a trip to Milwaukee a few weekends ago, and came back with a trunkful of Badger State brews, the first of which I'll discuss here.

Hinterland is made and served at the Hinterland Brewery, Restaurant & Lounge with locations in Green Bay and Milwaukee. They sell packaged beers under the name Green Bay Brewing Co., including this one, Luna Coffee Stout, made with coffee from Luna Café of nearby DePere.

I had hoped to do a comparision tasting against an equivalent local coffee stout. Trouble is, Luna is meant to be a "sessionable" coffee stout, with just 4.8% abv, while most stouts with coffee are of Russian Imperial strength, like Dark Lord (15%) or Half Acre's Big Hugs (at 9.5%). So this pint bottle has to stand by itself.

Out of the bottle, this beer pours black with the darkest brown head I can remember. The smell has the roasty malt of a stout, with some burnt marshmallow. Can't pick out coffee in the nose, but it's still a nice smell. The taste is full of the roasty goodness of a dry stout, with no touch of Guinness-style sourness to my buds. The malt stays just to the good side with much harshness. Midway through the bottle, I found found the coffee, with bitterness at the edges of my tongue, then impressions of espresso on the middle. I had this about 10:00 at night, and found it did not make me stay awake in bed later. This is a fine example of a beer matched with coffee, rather than overwhelming or being overwhelmed by it.

I found Hinterland beers at Ray's Liquor in Wauwatosa. If you're not going near the county zoo, you might have some luck just over the border at Woodman's of Kenosha.

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    Mark McDermott

    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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