For many, the words “morning” and “beer” don’t seem to be a natural fit!
There seems to be an unwritten law that you shouldn’t drink alcoholic beverages before 5 pm, giving rise to the phrase “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”
However, I rather like the idea of a beer for breakfast.
After all, it’s fermented from the same grains you find in a breakfast bowl. It’s also full of calories, is both filling and satisfying, and most importantly it gives me a pleasantly happy sensation; good at any time of the day, particularly the start.
Although many craft brewers in the US have now picked up on the trend for a beer before noon, in some parts of Germany it’s actually an age-old tradition.
They even brew a special morning beer called Hefeweizen specifically for this time of day.
Can drinking beer be good for you? Is one beer a day healthy? From beers brewed by adventurous US craft brewers with typical breakfast ingredients like oats, fresh coffee, and actual pork-scrap breakfast delight, to European traditional morning beers, let’s explore the best beers with breakfast in mind.
The Health Benefits of Beer
Most of us have heard of the health benefits of wine, especially red wine which is full of all those healthy antioxidants we all keep hearing so much about. However, did you know that beer is probably the most nutritious alcoholic drink you will find in your fridge?
Many experts consider it more of a food item than a beverage.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Medical Science (AJMS) found beer contains more proteins and B vitamins than wine.
The levels of antioxidants are similar but slightly different because the flavonoids found in the barley and hops differ from those found in fruits used in the production of wine.
They are still antioxidants, though, and therefore are good for you.
As well as contributing to your daily nutritional intake, beer has been shown by the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions to have positive effects on the health of your heart when drunk in moderation.
Moderation means one or two beers a day, not a boozy breakfast with lashings of beer to wash it all down.
One beer a day is healthy for you, whereas ten beers a day, especially before noon, may sound fun but it will kill you eventually….if your wife doesn’t first!
As well as the physical health benefits of drinking in moderation, beer can also help boost your brain power and reduce stress levels. What better way to start your day?
And for those who argue you shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach, let’s go back to the nutritional qualities of beer, which definitely contains more vitamins and minerals than you will find in your average breakfast muffin….and a lot less sugar too as it has been converted into alcohol!
Just think of a pint of Guinness and you will understand what is meant by a meal in a glass – heavy, filling, and satisfying too, it can help ward off those mid-morning hunger pangs.
Beer In The Morning Around The World
While beers aren’t seen as a breakfast staple in the US, there are some regions, especially in Northern Europe, where morning brews are the standard.
The origins of beer for breakfast can be traced back to 17th century Europe when Friars at the Paulaner monastic brewery in Munich produced a strong, hoppy, high-carb lager that they considered their “liquid bread”.
They consumed it to help them endure the 46-day fasting period of Lent. Technically it wasn’t exactly a breakfast beer as it did not break the fast.
In Bavaria to this day, they still enjoy a beer before lunch with a traditional breakfast of Frühschoppen. This consists of wheat beer with pretzels and white sausages.
They even have a specific beer for the breakfast hour called Hefeweizen.
Made from malted wheat instead of the malted barley typically used in most beers, Hefeweizen uses specialized strains of yeast to produce overtones of banana, cloves, apples, citrus, and even smoke while the beer ferments.
The name Hefeweizen translates as “yeast wheat” because of the two defining qualities of this beer.
Beer for breakfast is not too uncommon in the rest of Europe, especially Belgium and the UK. As late as the 1980’s breweries would often hand out free beers to their workers at the start of the day, although many would argue this was just to prevent pilfering later in the day.
In the UK beer was often drunk for breakfast dating back to the Middle Ages, as it was seen as being full of calories.
Back in those days, most people’s jobs involved manual labor, and having a beer with breakfast was perceived as giving people a boost of energy that they just wouldn’t get from regular water.
Yet here in the States, we are only just catching on to the idea of beer at breakfast time (unless it’s from a microbrewery that opens for brunch!).
The last time I had a beer before noon was with a flight breakfast where it seems any time of the day is good for beer!
In Texas, you couldn’t even buy a beer or wine before noon on Sundays up until a year ago. Frustrated customers who had moved to the state could never quite understand why grocery stores and even big supermarkets have to rope off their elaborate wine and beer sections as out of bounds until noon on a Sunday.
The Dallas Morning News has since reported everybody seems to be behaving, with no enforcement issues arising since the law changed.
The Best Morning Beers in the US in 2022
Although we say morning beers, most craft brewers refer to them as a beer to breakfast with. Sure, there are some exceptions to the ‘no drinking alcohol before 5 pm’ rule, such as barbecues, Sunday football games, and of course the occasional Bloody Mary or Mimosa at brunch, but now the craft brewers of America seem to want to get in on the alternatives for morning imbibing.
Our list of the best “breakfast” beers includes creative brews which highlight the best part of your breakfast-time tipple, with flavors such as coffee, cream, maple syrup, toast, and even the scrapple.
French Toast Double Brown Ale by Funky Buddha, South Florida
Known for brewing up ales like Blueberry Cobbler, Lemon Meringue Pie, and even a peanut butter and jelly variant called No Crusts, Funky Buddha has dreamt up this breakfast brew reminiscent of French toast.
For that early morning beer, imagine waking up to the taste of freshly made, hot from the griddle fresh toast, lightly dusted with cinnamon and infused with vanilla and maple syrup but in a bottle of dark double brown ale.
Dogfish Head Beer for Breakfast Stout, Dogfish Head Brewery
Dogfish Head is known for being one of the most adventurous small breweries in the country, and this ale is no exception as it tries to cram an entire breakfast into a bottle of beer.
Especially for those with a native love of scrapple, Dogfish Head has created Beer for Breakfast Stout which combines Guatemalan cold press coffee, applewood smoked barley, western Mass Syrup, and some of that heavenly pork scrapple with a special spice blend.
Stouts are often called a meal in the glass, and if your pour some of this with your breakfast tomorrow you will understand why.
Lefty’s Big Brekkie Breakfast Stout, Lefty’s Brewing Company
When they were originally brewing in West Massachusetts, Lefty’s proudly made use of the abundant local ingredients available to them in all of their brews.
This Big Brekkie Stout carries on that tradition with maple syrup sourced from the Mt. Massaement Sugar House, gourmet coffee which has been roasted at the Esselon Cafe, and bacon (yes, pork again!) from Mountain Top Country Meat in Savoy.
To complete that breakfast taste they have also added a hint of chocolate flavor using organic cocoa nibs.
Good Morning Granny Breakfast IPL, Jack’s Abby
Jack Abby’s is a brewery that only brews lagers using a cold and slow fermentation process.
This breakfast-ready India Pale Lager uses West Coast Hops to produce a lager similar to their flagship brew, Hoponius Union IPL but adds coffee with milk and sugar for a pleasant coffee bitterness that will even wake up your granny.
Mikkeller Rauch Geek Breakfast Oatmeal Stout, Mikkeller, San Diego
When the wandering brewer decides to settle down in one place, the place Mikkel Borg Bjergsø now calls home is San Diego.
This oatmeal stout is a new variant of their famed Beer geek breakfast but adds a smoky twist.
In addition to roasting the malt for that dark stout color, they have also smoked the malt and added flaked oats and gourmet coffee for a drinkable breakfast ale that reminds you of bacon and toast.
Sunday Morning Stout, Weyerbacher Brewery
Although it’s called Sunday Morning Stout, nobody’s going to make you wait until Sunday.
This beer is perfect for any day when you can’t decide whether you would rather start the day with a shot of bourbon in your coffee, or your beer.
Aged in used bourbon barrels, this Imperial Stout has an aroma of roasted coffee with a hint of sweet bourbon.
Flavors such as caramel, chocolate, and vanilla complement both the coffee and bourbon taste too.
Sante Fe Brewing Imperial Java Stout, Sante Fe Brewing Co.
For me, nothing screams breakfast like a good cup of fresh coffee.
You can keep your French toast, bacon, cereal, and milk, coffee is what I need to kickstart the day.
This year-round brew from Sante Fe brewing is just what the doctor ordered.
It’s a full-bodied heavyweight coffee stout with a strong ABV that gives a generous dose of locally-roasted organic coffees from Ohori Coffee in New Mexico.
Anchor Coffee Porter, Anchor Brewing Company
Only available in the fall, this Coffee Porter Anchor seems to have come full circle.
The current building they reside in was originally a coffee roastery, so it seems right they have started brewing a coffee porter using flash-chilled coffee from San Francisco’s own Four Barrel coffee which is added to the beer during the secondary fermentation.
The result is a dark, rich malty porter (not a stout!) which has a bold coffee aroma and hints of chocolate, coffee, and spices to the taste.
Good Morning American Imperial Stout, Tree House Brewing Company
Brewed with Dark Amber Maple Syrup, this Imperial Stout from Tree House Brewing pours with a jet-black color and a creamy almost mousse-like head.
Once you get past that foamy head the aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa powder, and that dark amber maple syrup start to emanate from the glass.
The flavor is that of rich, fresh coffee which gives way to the blast of milk chocolate and sweet maple syrup.
A super sugary decadent treat, many would liken this stout to a chocolate cake with a side order of freshly roasted coffee.
Side Car, Sierra Nevada Brewing
If the idea of bacon, coffee, or oats doesn’t fit your perfect breakfast or morning tastes, maybe you prefer juice or fruits for breakfast.
Sierra Nevada has just joined the fruity IPA scene with this citrus-heavy version of their iconic pale ale.
Blending fruity hop variants with two doses of orange peel makes for a drinkable breakfast pint that maintains that crisp hop bite of an aromatic IPA.
Widely available from most distributors, including your local 7-11 store, why not try swapping this out for your orange juice next time you fancy a boozy breakfast?
Morning Beers: The Takeaway
Beer before noon? Have I convinced you to try a morning beer with the delicious beers we have looked at? Just because many of them have the word “breakfast” in their name doesn’t mean they are limited to those hours of the day when you fancy a morning beer.
Any of the beers we looked at would taste good at any hour of the day or night, it’s just that some of those flavors may work well for your next breakfast or brunch with friends.
Sometimes you might even be tempted to skip the breakfast on a plate, but that’s okay because remember, beer is nutritious and can be good for you (but only in moderate quantities as my Dr would remind me!).