Intensified Coffee Porter Talk: Brooklyn Brewery’s Cold-Brew Coffee-Infused Collaboration with Blue Bottle is Delicious

Photos by Ben Rosenzweig.
Photos by Ben Rosenzweig.

A few days before today, or last Wednesday, I attended the premiere of Intensified Coffee PorterBrooklyn Brewery’s newest beer, the latest installment in its notable Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment (BQE) series, and the result of a cool-ass collaboration between the venerable craft-beer pioneer and Blue Bottle Coffee—and recorded some notes.

These are my recorded notes from the informative two-hour sampling that evening: “It’s delicious.”

The event’s distinct setup within Brooklyn’s big-ass tasting room befitted Intensified Coffee Porter’s special makeup and creation process. A deconstructed arrangement perfect for distinguishing, tables offered samples and collaboration players imparted knowledge about many of the ingredients used to make the potent dark ale, and attendees could intimately see, smell, and taste its characteristics individually. There was a station of the green, or raw coffee beans from El Manzano, a small farm outside of Santa Ana, El Salvador; one with that Finca El Manzano coffee, a Bourbon variety, roasted and cold-brewed by Blue Bottle; and one of the Woodford Reserve bourbon, to discern what flavors had transferred from the once-whiskey-filled oak barrels that held the base beer for nine months before cold-brew coffee was added.

There was also an opportunity to try that “un-coffee’d porter” on draft, and it tasted delicious, though considerably different than the final product; chocolate, bourbony sweetness, and oakiness were at the forefront of the former version, while I found the latter to possess more dark-fruit notes and overall complexity.

The event, hosted at Brooklyn’s headquarters in Williamsburg and free for RSVPers, was a fun experience, partly because delicious beer that doubles as free beer always guarantees fun. It’s also because I didn’t attend alone, because I always and dutifully adhere to the Proper Beer Premiere Etiquette (PBPE) guidebook. A pertinent rule from the guidebook:

Rule #6: A person should never attend a beer premiere alone.

I unwaveringly followed Rule #6 last Wednesday. It’s a well-known fact that the failure to follow Rule #6, or any of the 83 rules throughout the revered PBPE tome, will definitely lead to something bad happening at a beer premiere—likely worse than being forced to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 alone on a weekend night, or any night, or any time. (FYI: Kevin James didn’t attend the premiere of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 alone, and that film is an awful piece of trash; he actually had two dates! I digress…)

I avoided something bad, because I was prepared. My date to the premiere was cooler and less hairy than Kevin James’ mustache. My date was Linda Richman.





Wait. Are you surprised that the inimitable host of “Coffee Talk” was my date to the premiere of a new cold-brew coffee-infused collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and Blue Bottle Coffee, which is set to be released in 750-milliliter bottles in a few weeks?


Richman knows coffee. Niko knows beer. Before this premiere, we both existed on Earth solely to attend it together. And we attended it together. And our joining made a perfect pairing. It was absolute perfection.

Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn’s Ghost-Bottling brewmaster, was one of the many collaboration players in attendance to answer questions, as were Stephen Vick, Blue Bottle’s green coffee buyer, and Emilio Lopez Diaz, El Manzano’s owner and also Cuatro M‘s, which processed and exported the coffee. Oliver explained Intensified’s base as a “light porter without much roastiness from dark malts so the coffee character, it’s fruitiness and full, rich body, could really shine through.” At that moment, I wrote “It’s delicious.” in my notepad.

That’s essentially my review, the takeaway of this article. If you’re still a skeptic, here is Linda Richman’s review:

“This beer, it’s like buttah.”



I agree with her expert analysis, and I also agree with the title of this article, whoever wrote it. This beer is delicious, because it evoked the memory of tasting a classic of Brooklyn’s and another BQE’r, Black Ops, for the first time, if only for its powerful-but-not-overpowering presence. It’s also delicious because I have a mouth and after consuming six or seven samples from a plastic cup, it was still delicious to my mouth.

The official description of Intensified Coffee Porter promises “complex notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, berries, and dried fruits, coming to intensify you.” It will intensify you! I experienced it! The combination of flavors was almost too much to comprehend! I was intensified!

And I want more. I ‘m excited for its release in a few weeks, because I will drink it again.


Before I depart, other highlights from the premiere: (Rule #17: A person must always recount highlights of an attended beer premiere on the Internet.)

– A one-minute video summating the collaboration process was shown to the crowd of 150-ish people. There were romanticized closeups of a farmer’s hands cupping raw coffee beans and a bottle of Intensified Coffee Porter slowly pouring into a snifter. It was sexy. It was INTENSE.

– A man approached me and asked to take my photograph for Hasid or Hipster. I obliged. It hasn’t been posted yet.


– It was Garrett Oliver’s birthday and some people presented him with a birthday cake adorned with the brewery’s iconic logo. The room sang “Happy Birthday.” Then he cut the cake with a sword. A SWORD.

– I sang karaoke with Linda Richman to close the event. We performed a duet. Barbara Streisand and Michael Bublè’s “It Had To Be You.” The performance was like buttah. BUTTAH.


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