It’s said so often it’s almost cliché, but the craft brewing industry really is a very congenial and cooperative industry, probably unlike any other. Even the competition, which is certainly growing rapidly, really has a friendly aspect to it. A good example of this is the proliferation of collaboration beers you see across the industry between craft brewers both large and small. Collaboration brewing is a great way to work with other breweries, learn from each other's techniques, talk about recipe development philosophies, and most importantly have a lot of fun!
A few months ago my friend Chase Medlin, head brewer at Twain’s Brewpub in Decatur, reached out to me asking if I’d like to come down and do a collaboration with him at Twain’s. Without hesitation the answer on my end was a resounding, “Yes!” Chase is a good buddy from my days in the Atlanta brewing scene, and he makes excellent beer at Twain’s, so I was excited for the project.
We decided we wanted a way to incorporate both Williamsburg, Virginia and Decatur, Georgia into the beer. The first idea we kicked around was a Double IPA using hops grown in Virginia, but neither of us was terribly excited about that idea, especially because Chase already keeps a steady rotation of excellent hop-forward beers on tap at the pub. We started thinking about the time of year that we’d be releasing the beer, so something darker and boozier seemed to fit the bill. Chase had the "light bulb" moment that sent us in our ultimate direction- use coffee from a Williamsburg roaster and a Decatur roaster! We both loved the idea and decided a high gravity brown ale would be a unique base style for a coffee infused beer.
As the recipe started to take shape it was as though we were reading each other's minds- I suggested using flaked oats to give a smooth mouthfeel and help to cut some astringency that coffee can sometimes add to beers, and Chase suggested using maple syrup as an adjunct sugar source... We were completely on the same page, and Double Breakfast Brown was born.
Around Thanksgiving I was going to be in Atlanta for the holidays, so we scheduled our brewday for that week. The brewday with Chase and Assistant Brewer Brad Davis was a great time and everything went smoothly. I brought a Guatemalan coffee roasted by Williamsburg’s Aromas World Coffeehouse. We added this coffee to the mash allowing it to steep with the grains. The brewery smelled amazing with the blend of dark malts and coffee coming from the mash tun. Once we filled the kettle and moved onto the boil, Chase’s Atlanta coffee connection, the roaster from JavaVino arrived, and we began a blending session of different coffees to pick what we would add to the cold side of the process. We ended up going with a Nicaraguan bean and a blend of cold brew and espresso for the final beer. This mixture was to be added to the finished beer in the serving tank.
All reports from Chase and Brad say the beer has turned out quite nicely at a robust 9.3% ABV. The release will be this coming Wednesday, 12/17, at 7 pm at Twain's Billiards & Tap, so if you’re in Atlanta definitely come out for the party and try our Double Breakfast Brown! I know I can’t wait to try it.
Proper serving vessel - important any time of the day!