As I look forward to this weekend’s inaugural Northwest Coffee Beer Invitational, Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Goose Hollow Inn in Portland, I’m thinking about how great coffees work themselves into great coffee beers. With so many options to choose from, brewers could line up hours of side-by-side coffee taste tests. But many reach straight for their favorites.
So I asked brewers around the Northwest: what coffees are you drinking right now? Here’s what they replied.
Brent Mills, Four Winds Brewing: “We are huge coffee fans here at Four Winds. We might even like it more than beer…” Mills reconsiders the last part. “No, that’s not possible, but it’s close.” Most days Mills starts at Matchstick Coffee Roasters for a pour-over of something Latin-American. “[Matchstick does] a great job of bringing out some fantastic flavours from their beans,” he enthuses. He continues to drink coffee throughout the day thanks to an Aeropress and rotating coffee selections at Four Winds’ Delta, B.C. brewery.
Paul Thurston, Base Camp Brewing Co.: “My favorite roaster in Portland right now is Trailhead Coffee Roasters,” says Thurston, who currently prefers the seasonal Corazon de Amazonas offering. It’s no surprise that Trailhead will be featured in The Incredible Baltor, Base Camp’s Coffee Beer Invitational submission. “We wanted a coffee that would provide a depth of fruity, floral, earthy, and chocolate character. After experimenting with a half dozen coffees brewed different ways, we settled on using Trailhead’s Guatemalan variety.”
Jack Harris, Fort George Brewery: What coffee does Harris drink? “We’re canning it right now,” he says. Fort George’s latest seasonal endeavor, Java the Hop, features single-origin hops paired with single-origin Coava Coffee for a coppery, power-packed coffee IPA. 240 pounds of the Ethiopian Kochere went into the latest batch—enough of a pick-me-up for the Astoria, Ore., team.
Sam Pecoraro, Burnside Brewing: “I’m pretty partial to Ristretto Roasters,” says Pecoraro, choosing from among several Northwest favorites. That partiality is reflected in Burnside’s freshly-brewed submission for this weekend’s Invitational—a coffee oatmeal stout with some of Ristretto’s best Honduran beans.
Alan Taylor, PINTS Brewing: “I can’t answer that question,” says Taylor, because he’s “usually not much of a coffee man.” He’s been experimenting with alternative options for his Coffee Beer Invitational submission, including green coffee beans and Kahlua. That said, Portland-based PINTS is half brewery, half coffee house, so Taylor occasionally sips something dark-roasted and Costa Rican.
Pam Brulotte and Dean Priebe, Icicle Brewing: “We have two great coffee roasting companies in Leavenworth, both of which I love,” says Brulotte of roasters Alpine Coffee and J5 Coffee. Priebe doesn’t have to choose between those two—he home-roasts his own coffee. “I started doing it about five years ago and I’m hooked on the flavors.”