Beer and Coffee / by Bryan Hibbard

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So, this week I got a chance to meet up with Carl, the brewmaster for Fort Bend Brewing Co. A couple months ago he created a small test batch of coffee stout using a cold-brew infusion of our coffee (they used Ethiopia Yirgacheffe). They offered it to customers at their brewery and at a local Whole Foods. The feedback was pretty good.

On Wednesday, I got a private tour of the brewery and a chance to sample their amazing beers. Truthfully, I had never tried a craft beer before, and I was amazed at the complexity in the cup. It was every bit as interesting as my coffee.

The craft beer world and the craft coffee world are very similar. We both take ingredients from around the world and attempt to bring out their unique qualities to produce something special. In fact, the barley roasting is very similar to coffee roasting, and the degree of roast on the barley is comparable to roast levels in coffee. On top of that, our customers are often pretty similar. The average person who buys fresh, local coffee is also going to be reaching for a local craft beer.

I also got the opportunity to brew my Guatemala Antigua in my new Chemex for Carl. We took it over to the tap and mixed with their Texas Thunder Stout. We did a 50/50 mix, which is probably a lot more coffee then would go in a coffee stout, but the result was pretty awesome. The rich, balanced beer really highlighted the bright fruity notes in the Guatemalan coffee. It was a great combination. Carl was excited about it, and we are going to explore options for new coffee beers in the future.

Are you an aspiring home brewer? Try adding our coffee. I know very little about beer brewing, but the tips I picked up from Carl are; 1. Be sure to cold-brew the coffee (I can tell you from my experience that cold-brewed coffee has the best stability in liquid form), this is going to produce a deep rich flavor in the coffee, and it will also be a concentrate, so a little will go a long way; 2. Add the coffee liquid at the end of the process.