The beer nerds at Anchor Steam spent a long time developing their new coffee porter featuring Four Barrel’s cold coffee. We spent about twenty minutes asking their brewmaster, Scott Ungermann, questions about it while drinking one out of the bottle.
“The coffee thing was a new challenge. Our methodology with fruit has been to ferment the beer on top of fruit juices and purees so that the fermentation includes all the sugars from the fruit, but also so that the fruit is completely integrated with the beer. Our approach to a coffee beer incorporated this mindset – we wanted the coffee to have time in the tank with the beer so that they could get to know each other intimately.”
What do you mean by “get to know each other intimately”? We hope this isn’t going to get too weird.
“There are tons of coffee porters, but we wanted this to stand out in a way that feels like they just belong together.”
It’s true that we don’t usually pour beer into our coffee. That’s probably how you made this, right?
“We end up in the cellar, where we add coffee during secondary fermentation. That allows the expression of the Four Barrel cold coffee to come through in the beer and to layer itself into the complexity of the experience. That means the drinker can feel both beer and coffee at the same time in a totally unique way.”
So, first you’re talking about intimacy, and now you’re saying everybody’s going to feel each other… We knew this was going to get weird.
“Call if you want to stop by for a beer.”
Um, we’re kind of busy, thanks. How about if we just focus on the more… scientific parts of the process?
“The misconception that science doesn’t lead to artistry is one common thread that I see, but this question deserves an entire essay that I am not going to write right now.”Brewmaster Scott Ungermann lives drinks, and does science in the Bay Area, where he grew up and earned his MS in Food Science. He’s the Vice President of Production at Anchor Steam. Their Anchor Steam coffee porter featuring the world's best cold coffee will be available for a few more months, if we’re lucky.