Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.

Added by feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006

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Reviews: 848 | Ratings: 2,635
Photo of wrightro07
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: a nice dark brown with a great fluffy tan head retention.
S: Beautiful caramel/chocolate malts with a huge coffee backbone.
T: The taste is extraordinary for a American Brown ale with a coffee backbone. It has the same characteristics as Surly Bender as in solid caramel/chocolate malts with a silkiness only found from oatmeal but with a huge coffee addition from cold press.
M: Silky goodness
D: I love this beer. Another great brew from Surly not much else to say. If you are a fan of coffee beers this beer should be on the top of your list.

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Photo of scanny79
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Appearance is a very nice dark brown with some visible light through it, but not a lot. A very nice tan foam head to it.

S: Smells like a nice mild cup of coffee. Not overpowering smell of coffee, but enough to really make you want to taste it.

T: Subtle coffee taste to it, but perfect amount for the beer. Not a huge coffee aftertaste to it whatsoever.

M: Very smooth beer, with a nice dark beer feel to it.

D: Very redrinkable. I bought a 4 pack of it and I guarantee it won't be the last 4 pack I buy of it. The first one tasted like more. One of the best dark beers I have ever had.

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Photo of AndyP612
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tall Boy poured into imperial pint on a brisk Easter Sunday morning before family time.

A- Pours a dark brown with red hints and a thick, lovely 2 fingers of tan head that dissipates semi rapidly.

S- Coffee forward. This is why Coffee Bender is my favorite breakfast beer. The nose alone is enough to get me ready for a day of work or leisure. Big, black aroma of coffee with hints of mocha.

T- The palate follows the nose on this beer. Big coffee flavor with teases of caramel, chocolate. Minimal sweetness as the Surly crew must enjoy their coffee as I do, black and thick.

M- Medium bodied. The bitterness of the coffee finishes semi-dry.

O- The perfect before noon beer for me and my taste buds. I try to go to the Blue Door Pub every Sunday to get my fix after my morning cup of coffee and the gym. I really appreciate that I can drink more than one of this beer. As opposed to most coffee stouts this is a brown ale and isn't as thick and filling. I may be biased but I love Surly. Cheers

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Photo of younger35
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After double fisting this glorious liquid at every possible opportunity during 'Darkness Weekend' '08, I finally got to sit down at the Bavarian Lodge and enjoy a couple pints and review this. It's even better than I remembered it. Drank from a small non-logo'd nonic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish amber with a nice ½ finger fluffy light tan head. Nice cap and collar remains the entire beer while leaving a bit of spotty lacing down the glass.
Smell- My first whiff of this always is lightly smoky which is fairly surprising considering how overly abundant the coffee is. Feint aromas of chocolate and toffee mingle with the coffee adding a Starbuck like aspect. A light herbal and citric kick appears as well every so often. There are indeed hops in here. This is by far the most intense coffee nose I've smelled in a beer. Easy.
Taste- Coffee lovers rejoice! Big, huge, massive, mammoth lightly roasted breakfast blend integrates perfectly with the lightly sweet nuttiness of Bender. Hints of caramel and chocolate tend to sneak in every now and again when the coffee allows. A tinge of citrus and roasted bitterness towards the finish adds a little something to break up the coffee. Amazing stuff.
Mouthfeel- Very crisp and clean body with a medium feel that somehow manages to also be silky smooth and creamy.
Drinkability- This is by far my new favorite brew and probably favorite of all time. I think it edged out the ABYSS and Alaskan Smoked Porter. I drove all the way to Minneapolis to drink as much Darkness as possible and ended up have two glasses of it and probably ten glasses of this. Obviously I love my coffee. I also loves me a good Brown Ale. Well, Bender + Coffee = Amazing! Seek, this, out.

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Photo of IrishHockey
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Recieved in a trade from the man known as Crabbicus, a most awesome trader.

Poured from a can into my all purpose Founders brewing snifter.

The pour on this is pretty much what I expected. Black with a tan head. Then I took the advice of a previous review and held it to the light. Wow... It's deep burgundy. This is a awesome looking beverage

Smell on this is fantastic! I am a huge fan of coffee brews, but this one has a great smell! So much coffee!!! It's a coffee bomb and I love it!

Taste is very much like the smell. Coffee forward and wonderful. It tastes very much like the description, an iced coffee. This is a top notch beverage. If I could give this more than a five I would

Mouthfeel is also very much like a premium iced coffee. So wonderful. I can't even bring words to describe this other than....perfect

Overall, if I could drink this every day I would! This would be one of the beers I'd like to keep on hand at all times if I could. I'd rate this very close to Founders Breakfast Stout, maybe slightly higher. I love it! So much depth to this! I can't get enough! Damn it I need a Surly local now...FML

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Photo of rpete777
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

OMG! This stuff is amazing. Poured in a pint glass. Nice dark brown with a lovely tan head. Take of whiff of this stuff. Amazing. Says coffee through and through. First sip is nice and creamy with a great finish. Didn't take too long to finish it and open another but before I did I smelled the last of the first one. In a blind test I bet a lot of people would say it is just coffee. Just coffee? I think not! An amazing beer

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Photo of cdflem
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review, so bear with me.

Had this beauty on-tap (pint-glass) at Hopleaf in Chicago.

A: Dark brown with deep amber/auburn tints. Slight tan head with a little bit of foaminess (almost nitrogen smooth head).

S: Absolutely amazing. Like a cup of good coffee, but not overwhelming. Sometime got a strong roasted malt flavor, which balanced nicely with the coffee.

T/MF: First notice the coffee flavor, but it backs off fast to remind you that you are drinking a beer. Ends with a bit of hoppiness that works well. Very smooth.

D: I could have this all day long, which was unexpected from a coffee-style beer. Absolutely another great Beer from Surly.

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Photo of SpoonMeForkMe
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Very deep amber. Beautiful off white head which dwindles down to soft, bubbly layer of the same color just covering the top of the beer.

S: Coffee obviously, fresh ground coffee to be specific. Caramel, malts, dark chocolate, brown sugar.

T: Correlates verbatim to the smell. Little bit of yeasty, banana type taste at the start. On the nose I was a bit curious if they had used a high grade coffee but on the palate it becomes obvious, they did. Smooth front with a perfectly balanced bitter finish to be expected from coffee. I swear it but call me crazy, on the very last drink I got a quick taste of lemon zest.

M: No complaints here. Creamy. Medium to light body.

O: Someone below me said it best “I fucking love this beer” “Very sessionable”. This is a brew I could easily enjoy on a daily basis all winter long. Surly truly did a stellar job with this one and I pray they duplicate it well next year.

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Photo of airbn51st
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice brew served in a can, most fortunate to sample this beer in the great state of Texas, so here goes tr. An exceptional coffee beer!
-Awesome drinkability.
-great up front coffee flavor
-lots of espresso on the back end
-nice carbonation

An absolute revelation! Walk, no run to acquire such a masterpiece!

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on tap at the Map Room in Chicago

A: Pours a rather dark brown, nearly black with some minor ambery brown highlights along the edges of the glass. The head is about a half inch thick and recedes about a quarter of the way through the session while leaving behind some decent lacing.

S: Aroma is out of this world. It smells like walking into the walk in cooler at starbucks, its just about the most amazing smell there ever could be in a beer, it makes my mouth water just thinking about how fresh and how much like fresh gound coffee this beer smells like while also backed by some decently fruity hops. This is no way on earth one could possibly improve on how good this beer smells.

T/MF: Tastes almost exactly how it smells. Waves of fresh ground coffee and bitter chocolate wash over the tongue in wave after wave of pure beery goodness. I don't care how well this beer matches the brown ale style this beer tastes huge feels huge and smells huge without having to jack up the ABV. There are 10-15%ABV beers out there that dont taste or smell half as good as this beer does. An absolute marvel of a beer, just the tiniest bit weak and grainy in the mouthfeel at some points but otherwise this beer is perfection in a glass.

D: Yet again another beer I could drink all day and all night, if you put this under my nose with a blindfold one I would never ever mistake this for a beer, I dont really see how that description fits into the drinkablility factor but thinking about it makes me want another one of these beers so bad it makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours nearly opaque deep brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes into nice rings of lacing. The aroma is of coffee beans, with nutty caramel malt beneath. The taste is a little maltier than the aroma, but there is still a ton of coffee. There is all the malty depth of regular Bender, but it seems more accentuated by the coffee. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a velvety texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a great beer. I have a feeling that I will be drinking this beer a lot.

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Photo of pheggeseth
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Darkness Release Event

A: Dark, dark, brown, almost totally opaque. There wasn't much head seeing as how it was in a plastic party cup, and the keg was quite cold right after tapping.

S: Smells like a good, rich Sumatra coffee, fresh bready malt, faint hops

T: Tastes like regular Bender, but with a nice coffee glow to it. As it warms, the coffee flavor starts to balance the "Bender" flavor. Just as rich as it smells.

M: Very thick and smooth, the coffee mellows it out, great

D: Wow. This was terrific. Could drink it all day...not just at 10am...

Probably the only chance I'll get at this beauty. Glad to have been given the opportunity.

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Photo of ihaf2p
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was leery of trying this beer because I am a huge Surly fan and because of the hype did not want a let worries, it was a great experience. The smell of coffee is much more prominent that I expected. The chocolate flavors really come thru as well. Very good drinkability...not sure it would be a good session beer, but I would maybe alternate between a Coffee Bender and Furious. Cheers!!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be my favorite out of the Surly beers maybe even my favorite coffee beer. Pours with a billowing tan khaki head and forms fine even lacing down the sides of the glass. Their infusion process really makes the beer, body is a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights. Aroma has dark nutty notes of coffee, with hints of cream and sugar, really it's like the best iced coffee you've ever had with a strong earthy coffee nose. Flavor is excellent the most intense and flavorful coffee beer I've ever tasted, this beer tastes great. Creamed coffee, chocolate, dense creamy vanilla highlights within a dark brown ale just tastes great. Mouthfeel is creamy textured and I'm burping up coffee beans this is an intense beer experience. Mouthfeel is slightly acidic with coffee bean notes, and goes down easy loving every second of it. Drinkability is creamy texture is awesome and the beer that I've dreamt of when it comes to coffee beers thanks again Ryan aka Schlais, if you need anymore White Rajah let me know!

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Photo of erosier
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A BIG thanks to Scoobydank for hooking me up with this.

L: Pours a deep black/brown color that you can almost see through with a medium sized and medium bodied head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, sweet chocolate, and a nice mild coffee aroma.
T: Tastes of sweet malts, nice chocolate flavors, and a very sweet/mild and smooth coffee flavor to round it out.
M: Very smooth, very nicely carbonated, the feel was absolutely perfect.
D: Extremely drinkable, I am sad I shared this with my friends since I can't get it up here.

 563 characters

Photo of BeardedAllen
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of Surly's best beers, in my opinion. This is the coffee drinker's choice in beer. Its wonderful mix of coffee and Ale give it a very distinguished taste. I've affectionately named this beer the Minnesota paper maker, because I'd often find myself sipping on one while writing long winded political science essays. The caffeine gets your mind going, while the smooth 5.1% get's you loosened up just enough to ramble, but not enough to get you Surly.

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Photo of optiontwo
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Even though I've had this brew many times on-tap before I can't tell you how excited I am to be holding this beautiful can in my hands. Easily one of my most anticipated beers in a while.

First one to review coffee bender in a can! Woo-hoo! Ok, I'm done. Time for the review.

16oz. can poured into nonic

Appearance: Dark brown, not completely opaque but close, with half inch frothy tan head and very nice lacing.

Smell: So obviously, this being a coffee beer, you'd expect some major coffee aroma which there is, but there's a lot more going on. Coffee, roasted biscuit malts, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and even some hop aroma are all in there.

Taste: Bitter coffee and chocolate followed by sweet caramel, toffee, and hazelnut and finished off with a perfect amount of hop flavor and bite. Simply delicious. This is the most balanced coffee beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Not too heavy, not too light. Carbonation is just right.

Drinkability: Also perfect. This is one of the tastiest 5.1%ABV brews there is. It goes down easy and if you were so inclined you could enjoy all four from your four-pack and not turn into frank the tank.

Overall: This, in my humble opinion, is a world-class coffee beer. And that's what you can expect from Surly, world-class beers. When I first had this beer it seemed a bit more coffee forward but now, out of the can, it seems a lot more balanced. I used to tell my pals that enjoy good beer to try this brew even if they didn't like coffee; well now that rings more true than ever. This is the perfect balance between beer and coffee and I am practically giddy that I have three more cans in my fridge. Obtain this, however you can.

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Photo of nitro0292
4.84/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this into a glass coffee mug. I couldn't resist despite the fact that this is beer and not actually coffee. Pour produced a solid one finger head with GREAT retention. Looks like black coffee. Some brown and red shows through when held up to the light. Head stays around like crema on a good cafe con leche.

Smells like coffee grinds. This does not smell like the roasty-sweet or roasty-bitter of stouts that "sorta" replicate coffee. THIS SMELLS LIKE ACTUAL COFFEE. Put this in a to-go mug and nobody will know the difference.

This taste like coffee. Not hot (obviously) and not as strong or as bitter as actual coffee, but damn close. This is truly a "coffee" brew. Very dry finish, just the right amount of roasty coffee and bitterness.

Mouthfeel is almost confusing. Its carbonated, so I know its not coffee but it is has low carbonation and is light bodied. This is not quite as thick or as smooth as regular bender but it is absolutely delightful.

This is for folks who like some beer with their coffee. This is like nothing else I have had. A true "coffee" beer. Outstanding and well worth the price and shipping.

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
4.84/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep chestnut brown coloring. A frothy head that dissipates slowly.

S: Umph! There is no false advertising going on here. This is the more coffee-centered nose I've ever smelled in a beer. Wonderful, potent coffee nose, with some caramel malts notes hidden deep under the coffee beast.

T: Same as the nose! Like drinking a cup of coffee with a fantastic brown ale mixed in, and it works very well. The sweetness of the coffee and malts are balanced by their own yin and yang bitterness. Simple and complex simultaneously--Didn't think that was possible but here it seems to be.

M: Wonderfully coating and carbonated. Easily drinkable, yet it leaves no wanting.

You could probably get away with justifying drinking this with breakfast, it's so coffee-forward. I love this beer.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everyone has a favorite brewery that they don't have immediate access to. For me, it's Surly. I love every brew I have ever had and I would honestly buy pallets of the stuff if I could. Coffee bender is unlike anything I have ever had.... Yet I have never reviewed it. Great timing as this is my first review since the site changed.

A- a black as night body with the rockiest head of fluffy mocha foam I have ever seen with a brown ale. The foam barely recedes leaving elevated layers of foam on the sides of the glass. I would go on record as saying the layers are almost 3D. I'm going to go on record as one of the best appearances ever

S- great malt flavors that are enrobed in stalks of coffee beans. The scent is pure java that isn't a old coffee scent like some coffee brews. This is fresh and lively as it meshes with the malt and slight dry hop scent

T- Unstoppable black coffee bean flavor tastefully combined with a crisp and flavorful brown ale. Sweet malt flavor with a dry taste that mingles with the coffee. This is equivalent to a black iced coffee that is so flavorful with a commitment to the beans. Best coffee flavor that is not positioned with some cream and sugar if you will. Perfect

M- the coffee flavor is not only delicious but it settles fantastic in the mouth and palate. Flavor is coating and smooth

O- Surly has created one of the best brews I have ever experienced. The iced coffee attributes that are cloaked as a brown ale is unyielding. Coffee bender is a brew that I will always want and enjoy. What a brewery, what a beer. How I wish, how I wish they were here. I'd be one lost soul swimming in a bowl of coffee bender year after year

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A dark brown beer with a bubbly khaki color head. The head is about 2 fingers and slowly diminishes leaving behind a very sticky lace. Appearance is awesome.

S: Right off the bat, you smell chocolate malts, soft floral hops, and roasted coffee.

T: I should have drank this with breakfast. A strong roasted coffee flavor balanced with robust chocolate malts. A great finish and aftertaste that is identical to morning coffee. Delicious. (As it warms up, the coffee bitterness comes out)

M: A creamy texture (I said 'almost' chewy, but my husband disagreed) with a medium-full body and mild carbonation.

D: I could have this breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Very easy to drink. Love this beer. ISO MORE! It's never too early for Surly!

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Photo of Tizzod
4.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out of the growler beautifully, very dark with a nice brown head. The smell is one that I will dream of - fresh roasted coffee and malty beer goodness. I couldn't stop smelling the empty growler after the beer was all gone. Really spectacular.
The first sip was an intense coffee flavor mixed beautifully with the beer. Coffee flavor was very predominant but didn't get in the way of the malt taste of the Bender. Beautiful mouthfeel, smooth and creamy.
One of the best beers I've ever had the privilege of drinking. The friends who shared the growler with were also very impressed and the beer went faster than I thought. For such a flavorful beer it was extremely drinkable. In fact I wish I was drinking it right now.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured from the can with 2 fingers of light tan foam, which slowly receded to a proteinaceous haze layer, leaving some impressive lacing in its wake. The body was a semi-opaque dark brown. Any carbonation was not visible due to the opacity of the beer.

S- Smells of rich, freshly brewed coffee and stewed malts. A very simple, but extremely elegant nose.

T- Wow. A perfect balance of stewed and nutty malts with freshly ground coffee. Often, I find coffee beers to be overboard on the coffee notes; but this one strikes such an amazing balance with the malt. No hops detected, but we do have a wonderfully long coffee finish on this beer.

M- A big, almost chewy body, with a pervasive soft carbonation. Virtually no astringency.

Overall- This is one of the most elegant, flavorful, and impressive beers I have had in the 5% abv range. I can drink these all night long in any kind of weather.

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Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

as with some of the other nuts on this site i also had this wonerful concoction at about 8:00 am at darkness day when they set out a keg for all to have a verry classy move if i do say so my self anyways on to the reveiw most delicious with the smell of fresh coffee just the kick i was looking for the flavor of a nice french press cup of good coffee (not to be comfused with the crap i drink all day at work) an exceptionaly smooth feel and man oh man could i drink this all day long but the keg was dry soon after no appearance decription as i drank mine out of a 20 oz dite coke bottle i found in the back seat of my car

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Photo of stealth
4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

What a great coffee beer. As the name implies, you expect coffee, and that's what you get. Lots of it. The most 'coffee' coffee beer I've tasted. Has the coffee roast bitterness on the finish, but its balanced well by some mild sweetness. Could drink this with breakfast.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,635 ratings.
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