In front of me was a goblet full of fizzy dark brew, a beer that the makers of Brioux City Brewery called “Woke.” Last Wednesday, brewmasters Matt Hubert and Kelly Quinn unveiled this new flavor to the public for the first time. I was a one of dozens to try a glass of the cold brew coffee-infused porter the day it was released at Marty’s Tap.
Ever since Brioux City Brewery opened for business in January, its creators have consistently introduced extra flavors and styles to customers. In addition to its debut taps like the Peanut Buddha Stout and Pretty Porter, new brews like the DAD Beer (cream ale), the Double Haze (a double IPA made with Citra, Galaxy and Mosaic hops) and the Hash Happy (IPA brewed with Chinook hop hash) are in constant rotation at Marty’s Tap.
For Brioux City’s latest craft beer, Hubert and Quinn enlisted the help of another local business: Jumpy Monkey Coffee Roasting Company. I had a chance to speak with Hubert about this latest libation, its creation and the ensuing collaboration:
How did this idea and this collaboration come about?
Hubert: Well, we always wanted to reboot the Pretty Porter. That’s my favorite beer and one of Brioux City’s first recipes. We wanted to reboot it in a way because we always figured it tasted like coffee or that it would be good in the morning or be a good beer to drink around a campfire. So, let’s add some coffee to it. A friend of ours, Taylor Grote, he’s friends with a gal that works with Jumpy Monkey, her name is Gabriel [Weber]. She got in touch with me and Kelly and she came up her with a bunch of coffee – a Colombian, a French roast and a cinnamon-type of coffee. We tried the coffee and sipped on the porter and decided the Colombian would be the one. It was smoky and bold. That’s what we thought the porter was like.
And you guys decided to go with cold brew?
Hubert: Yes. We didn’t just come up with that on our own. We sought the advice of the coffee roasters. How fine should the grounds be? What kind of coffee should we use? What method? They said cold brew with a coarse grind would make a nice, sweet, strong brew. That way it’s more of a coffee extract that we’re pouring in there. It’s more concentrated and not a whole lot of water. We did that and kept trying it every day, adding a little bit more before getting to the right amount – which is a carefully guarded secret. Now, here it is.
Are you a big coffee drinker? Are you happy with the resulting mix of that and beer?
Hubert: I drink coffee every morning. I definitely like it. I think it’s awesome. It’s a subtle nuance of coffee. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t overpowering. We want our drinks to be real drinkable. Even the Peanut Buddha; we don’t want it to taste like peanut butter. We just want a hint. And I think it worked. We’ve got some compliments from people who did not like the porter originally. I think the coffee is the perfect ingredient to add.
Whenever I see coffee and beer, it seems to always be mixed with stouts. Why not take that direction?
Hubert: Stouts are heavy. Coffee isn’t super heavy to me, even if it’s just a shot of espresso. I wanted something lighter, like the porter. I think it just makes it more drinkable.
This isn’t the first time Brioux City has teamed up with someone else to produce a new beer. It happened before with the rap group D.A.D. Is this going to be more of a regular occurrence?
Hubert: I think it is part of our brewery’s character. We want to work with everyone. We want to work with other breweries and everyone in town. We’re part of a community. That’s our approach. We’re not snobs. We like ideas from other people.
What made you guys settle on the name Woke?
Hubert: We were looking for morning names and being awake because of coffee. I like Woke because I think it has a certain undertone of being in-the-know or you know what’s up. And Brioux City knows what’s up. We’re “woke” in a way. I thought it was perfect.
A lot of new flavors seem to come up fairly often, considering you really only have four taps open.
Hubert: We like our consistent brews but we’re always trying new things. I think it’s finding out what people like. When we see a lot of feedback on certain beers, we keep them around. We like trying new things. There are so many styles of beer and only four tap handles. It’s tough to keep everyone happy.
That’s a good thing, right? More demand?
Hubert: Yeah! It’s like limited edition sneakers. It works. It’s perfect for where we’re at.