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Belt’s Beer Garden: How Swede It Is

Fika, a Swedish tradition, is now also an AMAZING stout from Beer Tree Brew.

Nestled near the New York/Pennsylvania border, is Port Crane, New York. The small town of ~7,000 sits just northeast of Binghamton and is the home of Beer Tree Brew.

Beer Tree opened just five years ago, in 2017, and has done so well that they have since expanded to three locations - their OG taproom “The Farm” (Port Crane), “The Factory” where they now brew and package (Johnson City), and “Downtown”, a cafe/restaurant/bar in downtown Binghamton.

I first had Beer Tree earlier this year, featuring them on here back in May, but they have quickly become a favorite of mine. While I haven’t had too many of their beers yet (living in Cali really limits my exposure to them), anytime I see one, I must try it. And today I get to try one of their darker beers for the first time.

Today I have Fik - a Coffee Stout brewed as an homage to the Swedish tradition of the same name. In Sweden, fika is the tradition of enjoying coffee and a sweet pastry with friends that has become so ingrained in Swedish culture that it has even been written into work contracts.

This stout looks to combine the coffee and sweet treat all in one, with a blend of milk sugar, coffee, cinnamon and hazelnuts being added into this Stout. The can has a solid 7.9% ABV and cost about $7 per 16-ounce can on the secondary market. On BeerAdvocate, it’s rated as the 141st best Milk Stout in the world…so I have some high expectations for this one.

The beer poured a super dark, nearly black, color with minimal head. Just a thin ring of tannish-brown bubbles appeared and they quickly dissipated into a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass.

The aroma packed a delicious punch. Notes of coffee and hazelnut blended incredibly well with some sweet vanilla to give off the impression of an iced coffee. There was a bit of spice, with the cinnamon peeking out too. But, for the most part, the smell was mostly dominated by the coffee milk sugar, and hazelnuts.

As soon as I sipped the beer, those sweeter additions really exploded. The beer is on the thicker side and began with a heavy dose of vanilla hitting immediately, thanks to the lactose. There is also a nice amount of cinnamon that adds some spice and balances out that initial sweetness.

The coffee and hazelnuts actually hit second, with some roasty and very subtle nutty qualities slowly appearing after a few seconds of sweetness. From there, Fika truly tasted like an iced coffee until the flavors faded away. And, despite how thick it is, those additives made it drink insanely easily.

Fika ends quite cleanly, and almost exactly like any cup of coffee finishes…with that roasty coffee bitterness. However, it’s much more balanced here as the milk sugar and cinnamon cut down the bitterness and add some sweetness.

Honestly, this might be one of the most crushable and tasty stouts I’ve had. I can see why this one is rated so highly. If you can find Fika, grab a can, grab a friend, and enjoy it with them…after all, it *IS* tradition.

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