Last Call: PBR has new competition in the hard coffee game

Photo: Kate Bernot
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I didn’t dislike PBR’s hard coffee when it debuted earlier this summer, though I found it a bit too Yoo-hoo-sweet for serious coffee drinkers. The concept of hard coffee, though, had its place: early tailgates, brunches, any time you might like to combine buzzes of both sorts. Obviously, focus groups or sales numbers proved me right, as there’s now a new entrant in the hard coffee game from a respected name in coffee: La Colombe.

Through a partnership with MillerCoors, La Colombe has launched a vanilla and a black coffee version of 4.2% ABV Hard Cold Brew made with Brazilian and Colombian coffee beans. It’s available now in Boston; Tampa; Ft. Meyers, Florida; Treasure Coast, Florida; and Denver. (Don’t ask me how that lineup was chosen.) Its tagline is “Rally Like A Grown-Up,” which is hilarious in that most grown-ups I know would rather go back to bed than rally.

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So, how does this stuff taste?

La Colombe is certainly more serious about the coffee flavor, with a distinct roast bitterness at the end of both versions. The black coffee is the dark side of PBR’s moon, as it’s almost too bitter for me. But the vanilla version combines the best of both worlds, blending actual roast and dark-chocolate flavors with just a touch of vanilla sweetness. It still finishes with distinctly coffee flavor, and I’d be hard-pressed to say I taste booze in either of them. At 4.2%, one 9-ounce can probably isn’t going to get you drunk, but I could see myself drinking one during early football game before switching to beer later.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.