​Brew Review​: Up & Down: Brazil Nitro Coffee Blonde Ale — Independence Brewing

Finding a lighter beer to showcase the coffee in the product, Independence Brewing settled on a Blonde Ale. Making sure the coffee flavor didn’t degrade too quickly, the Austin-Texas brewery also looking into putting the beer in cans with nitro widgets. It’s been a new challenge, but something the entire team that shared insights with Brewer seems willing to tackle.

“We liked the idea of a lighter golden​-​style ale that allowed the coffee to really shine and we knew that to pull that off we needed to use the widget cans for better preservation of flavor​,” said Head Brewer Brannon Radicke. ​”​We did talk about the Kolsch idea but thought the ​Blonde​ Ale​ would have more character to balance with the coffee.

​”​The Kolsch might be too light and clean.”

​The ​brewery reached out to Joel Shuler and his team at Little City Coffee Roasters​ ​whose roastery is located just down the road from the brewery. After piloting several recipes using coffees from different regions, the two teams decided that they would like to use a Brazilian coffee in the beer and booked a trip to Minas Gerais, Brazil to visit with some of Brazil’s top growers, many of whom Shuler has cultivated relationships with over the past decade. The two teams visited multiple farms for a week, crisscrossing the world’s largest coffee-producing region. After countless cuppings, they settled on a Yellow Bourbon from grower Augusto Borges Ferreira whose micro-lot won a Cup of Excellence award in 2018.

Amy Cartwright, ​​​co-​founder and President ​of the brewery said that the brewery has​ ​been friends with Little City Roasters for several years​.

“Both because they’re our neighbors and because they make an exceptional product​,” she said. “We align 100% on prioritizing quality and consistency above all else and they’re just great people to work with​ ​—​ ​old school Austinites just like us.

​”​When we decided to start experimenting with coffee, it was only natural to collaborate with the best coffee roaster in Austin.”

Jonathan Barraza, one of the brewers at Independence who traveled to Brazil and led the effort in bringing the beer to fruition​ said in a release they hope to bring ​the beer back ​each year featuring beans from a different coffee-producing region that Little City sources from​, such as ​Ethiopia, Mexico, Colombia, Myanmar, Indonesia, ​and ​Yemen​.

“The possibilities and flavor profiles are endless​,” he said.​

​The beer is currently available through the end of March at off-premise retail.

Photo courtesy Julia Keim

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