If you have been following us on twitface, you might have noticed that I've been doing fun tastings/pairings/cuppings with some folks at Northern Colorado's Odell Brewing Company, mainly Linsey Cornish one of the brewers who works on their weekly Firkin project. I was really excited to try to do a coffee beer with Odell for a multitude of reasons: 1. Odell makes some really fantastic beers, 2. Specialty coffee has a lot to learn from the Craft Beer industry and we share a common audience (or would very much like to share their audience), and 3. I was really impressed with a beer that they had done in a firkin earlier that had both coffee and vanilla in a medium bodied amber ale (not a porter or stout). I would normally be scared off not just by the coffee beer idea that so often results in heavy dark roasted coffee flavors but also by the fact that vanilla can so easily be an overwhelming flavor additive. I was pleasantly surprised by the marriage of all of the flavors. It wasn't even so much about balance, but about each element melding with the next in order to end up somewhere new. I knew that I could present them with some coffees with really interesting characteristics that they would consider with an open mind. We're still working on where we'll end up, but right now it's looking like we'll probably do a new firkin each month or every couple of months and see how that goes. We've already come up with some excellent combinations; some that push sweetness, some that push more floral elements, and some that push more tropical elements. It's been truly refreshing and I promise that I'll keep you all posted, the first batch should be just around the corner.
In the meantime, we've just launched a new washed coffee from Ethiopia, the Guji Shakiso.
"Those floral jasmine tea notes and spice accent are so clear in the cup. Along with a bracing lemony acidity, they provide the high toned piquant character for this coffee, particularly in the lighter roast levels. The first time I cupped the arrival sample, my taste impression coalesced under one term; "Gingerbread." It perfectly described the spicy sweetness, underpinned by honey and caramelized sugar. While the cup has a distinct sweetness, it is restrained, not a full, round sweetness. In fact it seems moderated by bergamot citrus, as with the slightly bracing, tannin tea-like notes of Earl Grey. The body is fairly light and increases as the cup cools, with a waxy mouthfeel and a suggestion of walnut oil. It's a very aromatic, delicate and distinct cup."
You know how I like pairings and combinations, and this coffee next to the Moplaco makes for a real study in lemon and gingerbread. I could see these flavors working nicely in a saison...