This morning, I decided to do something I haven't done since I was an undergrad in Catholic school: I drank beer for breakfast. But this time, it was for journalism!
In relation to other craft breweries in North Texas, Martin House Brewing Company -- also known as "that brewery in Fort Worth, no, not Rahr & Sons, the other one" -- is practically ancient. They've been consistently releasing quality canned brews, including the Toadies-inspired Rubberneck Red, since 2012.
Last week, as I was doing my regular grocery shopping, I spotted a four-pack of Martin House's recently released Daybreak. The tallboy can identifies itself as a "Four Grain Breakfast Brew," and I immediately decided to take it at its word. Would alcohol-marketing ever intentionally mislead a customer to make a bad choice? Never.
This is why, at 7 a.m., I reached past the cold brew coffee in my fridge and grabbed a 16 oz beer instead. I poured it straight into an oversized coffee cup, thereby masking my "research" from my wife and children. (Nailed it.)
Daybreak pours a sort of dirty straw color and leaves a surprising amount of sediment. But, the head is thick and airy and the smell is fantastic -- it's like a dense oat bread baked with honey. The first sip brings the honey flavor to the forefront, supported by a backdrop of grains including barley, wheat, oats and rye. The milk sugar is most pronounced on the finish; I found the lingering creamy mouthfeel reminiscent of the sensation of slurping up the remaining milk from a bowl of sugary Froot Loops.
Daybreak's success is that it's abundantly flavorful without knocking your ass straight back into bed. It's only 5 percent ABV, which is about as close to a session beer as anyone is brewing in DFW. Not that I recommend drinking beer for breakfast, but if you are going to do it anyway and want some hope of answering emails coherently once you get to your cubicle, 5 percent is the way to go.
I moved on from drinking it for breakfast to pairing it with breakfast. On this front, it was splendid. Salty hash browns, spicy eggs, savory bacon -- Daybreak washed them all down with a smile.
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Just for fun, I also paired Daybreak with a donut from Hypnotic. I was nervous that the sweetness of the donut would shock my palette and overpower the beer with saccharinity, but the yeasty sweetness of the donut actually went pretty well with the yeasty milk sugars. I imagine that the regular pairing of donuts and beer would cause health problems over the long term, but as experiments go, I've done worse.
In fact, I've done much worse. Martin House brewer Cody Martin has said that Daybreak is modeled after a bowl of cereal, and he's absolutely correct. I was hoping that the combination of cereal-inspired beer and actual cereal would produce magic, but, unfortunately, I failed to uncover a hidden secret of breakfast time. You heard it here first, folks: Beer doesn't taste good on cereal. Even good beer, like Daybreak, which all of you should drink under normal circumstances, makes a common bowl of cereal taste like soured spent grain. This was a bad choice, and a man who drinks beer for breakfast knows a thing or two about bad choices.