I’m going to ramble on about some brewery related goings on, you’re going to laugh at my witty repartee and at the end I’m going to ask you, dear reader, a simple question. You can post your answer via the comments option and if you get it right you could win something cool. Easy see! Good luck.

Let’s talk about coffee. In my last post about the sad demise of the name “Draft Punk”, I mentioned former co-owner of Punk’s Backyard Grill, Sheila Ladenberg. In one of those funny little twists of fate that litter the path of life, Sheila now works for Ceremony Coffee Roasters and when she saw that we were in the process of setting up the new production brewery approached me about the possibility of producing nitrogenated cold coffee for Ceremony. Conversations were had, numbers were crunched etc etc and we were in the cold coffee business so to speak. We started pretty much as soon as the brewery was set up and have “brewed” some six or so batches now. The process is simple enough in theory. Ceremony bring in their freshly roasted coffee (and we’re talking a LOT of coffee here) and we dump it in the lauter tun where it is mixed with filtered water and left overnight. The cold extract is pumped through a series of filters into a brite tank where it is further diluted with filtered water to the appropriate concentration (cue tasting, refractometers etc) and after mixing is kegged via in-line nitrogenation. Sounds simple right, of course it is not, it’s a head-ache inducing process but the results are wonderful and Ceremony have been selling the shit out of it. This seems like an opportunity to post a picture of my lovely wife enjoying a nitro cold coffee at Ceremony’s lovely new Mount Vernon store recently. It is delicious, I thoroughly recommend that you go and try some.

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From my perspective, a major drawback is the down time in brewhouse because of the use of the lauter tun and, of course, the subsequent rigorous cleaning procedure for removing the coffee grounds. We’re fixing this problem though, as we have taken two of the old 14bbl open FVs out of the old brewpub to have them retro-fitted so that they can be used as dedicated vessels to cold steep the grounds. It was only a matter of time, of course, before we collaborated with Ceremony on a coffee beer and that time is here. I chatted with Ronnie from Ceremony about our respective expectations regarding a coffee beer, the type of beer style, the coffee roast that the work best and so on. We were in agreement that we didn’t want to do a traditional coffee stout or porter. I thought a coffee nut brown ale would work nicely , something like our recent “Kingdom Of Madness” brew but a little bolder, really bringing out the caramel and burnt sugar aspects of the Simpsons Double Roasted Crystal malt. A quick tasting of Kingdom of Madness and Ronnie was in agreement and had the perfect coffee roast in mind, their “Destroyer” espresso roast. Clearly “Destroyer” had to be in the name of the beer somewhere (it is one of my very favourite Kiss albums after all) and after some deliberation the name “Creator/Destroyer” was chosen. As Maxine Hong Kingston said, “In a time of destruction, create something”. We explored some possibilities regarding best practices for the use of coffee in brewing beer and we opted to cold steep ground “Destroyer” beans and add the extract to the whirlpool just prior to transfer of the wort to the FV. Today we’re racking some casks and transferring the beer to conditioning tank and I am delighted with the results … “Creator/Destroyer” is a full bodied nut brown ale, 6% abv, with beautiful subtle coffee notes in harmony with those soft caramel tones set by the crystal and chocolate malts. Subtlety and balance between the coffee and bold malt flavours is the key to this beer, avoiding a heavy hand with the coffee is so important as we strived to create something unique. We’ll be carbonating and kegging it early next week and hopefully it will go straight out into distribution. We can’t wait for you to try it. Needless to say it won’t be our only collaboration with Ceremony, plans are already underway for a coffee infused version of our “Bishop’s Breakfast” nitro oatmeal stout, tentatively called “Burn The Candle”.

For those of you with an interest in brewing, here are some details of “Creator/Destroyer”

The malt:

  • Base of English Halcyon & Canadian pale ale malts
  • English Double Roasted Crystal malt
  • English Brown malt
  • English Chocolate malt
  • English Torrefied wheat

The hops:

  • 1st bittering English Challenger
  • 2nd bittering English Bramling Cross
  • Finishing whole leaf US Liberty

The coffee:
Ceremony Coffee Roasters “Destroyer” espresso roast of Ethiopian & Guatemalan beans.

Also in tank at the moment is “Bulldog Bitter”. It’s been a while since I’ve brewed a Best Bitter so I thought it was about time I resurrected “Bulldog”, especially seeing as the National Soccer Coaches of America Association convention rolls into town in a few weeks. “Bulldog” is a classic English bitter, 4.3% abv, brewed from a base of English Maris Otter malt with a little crystal 45 and malted wheat and a splash of chocolate malt. Bittering is courtesy of English Challenger and Bramling Cross with whole leaf East Kent Goldings and Fuggles to finish in the hop back. I first brewed this back in 2009 to celebrate the event of Chelsea FC playing AC Milan at the M&T Bank Stadium and it was a huge hit. I brewed it again in 2010 to celebrate the World Cup (see poster below), though of course my national team ensured that I wasn’t doing too much celebrating. We’ll be rolling out casks and draft of this batch of Bulldog at the start of January.

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Ok, let’s cut to the chase and give some shit away. How’s about a t-shirt, logo pint glass and etched snifter? Hey, if you win and can pick up from the brewery we’ll add a growler of beer to go with it, sound good?

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So, here’s a question … how many pounds of Ceremony coffee do we use in the production of a batch of their cold nitro coffee? Have a guess and enter your answer in the comment option. If you nail it I’ll be in touch on Thursday 24th to let you know. In the event of a tie we’ll draw names from a hat, if nobody gets it, the closest answer gets it. Good luck. No bribing any employees of Ceremony or OBC for the answer!

Steve