No cream or sugar, just beer in my coffee please…

We always hear about breweries doing collaboration beers. Sharing ideas, talents, jokes while coming together to brew. My favorite brew days have always been with other people. Whether it was just me and couple of my best friends or the chance to brew on Odell Brewing Co.’s pilot system, collaboration beers are a blast. Maybe it is the friendships made and strengthened sipping beers over a hot kettle that make these beers taste so much better. Whatever it is, when great minds get together, great things happen.

Pateros Creek Brewing Company recently teamed up another Fort Collins small business for a bit of a different collaboration brew. Together with local coffee roaster Conundrum Coffee, they made 4 coffee infused beers. Small batches of the brews were released each Thursday in March as part of the breweries Outlaw series. On the last Saturday, they brewery held two guided tastings where patrons could taste a flight of all 4 plus received a sample bag of fresh roasted coffee.

Coffee isn’t really my thing. I am really sensitive to caffeine, so it doesn’t take a lot to keep me going for hours. Beer, however, is my thing. I will try any beer at least once, so I had to give these ones a shot too. Plus, this guided tasting was really informative on the coffee growing, roasting and brewing.

The two different types of coffee were used for the collaboration project. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe was used in 3 of the beers. This coffee goes through a natural process of being dried by the sun and uses several heirloom varieties of beans. This coffee gives off flavors of blueberries and chocolate.  Just as with malt and grapes, where the beans are grown effect their flavors too. Only one beer used Guatemalan Atitlan beans, a variety that goes through a wet process and a special hand sorting. These have more nut and toffee flavors, with a bit more acidity as well.

conundrumcoffee

Assistant brewer Nick Chase paired the flavor attributes of the coffee to beer styles. The Yirgacheffe beans were first paired with an Imperial Maple Brown Ale. The bitterness of the cold brewed coffee was sweetened by the addition of maple syrup. This was the overwhelming favorite of those who attended the guided tastings. The same beans, only using a washed process, was added to an English IPA. The roasted acidic coffee notes complimented the bitter and spiceyness of the added hops. This one was too over whelming in coffee flavors for my palette.

The Belgian Double infused with Yirgacheffe was my favorite. The malt backbone of the style held up the strong coffee notes. The fruit and spice notes from the Belgian yeast blended nicely with the blueberry and chocolate from the coffee. The last beans used, the Atitlan blend was added to Schwartzbier. The sweet malt gives off chocolate and toffee that balances the acidity in the coffee and brought out its nuttiness. This one was also a popular favorite. You can find more info on beers here, in the taster card made by Clay Pot Creative

Tasting events such as these are always such a fun way to test and challenge your palette. You might something knew you like. You might confirm that you indeed do not like coffee. Or, more like the coffee doesn’t like you since you were up until 6am having participated in the tasting at 3pm. You can find Conundrum Coffee on their website or at The Cupboard in Old Town.

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