Last August, my brother, the bed wetter, called me up with an idea. He wanted to spend more time together, family and friends, and to do it in a way that is always scheduled, and somewhat competitive. He wanted to form a team, and join a league, a Bowling League. I hadn’t been bowling in a year or two, so of course, the prospect of going bowling every week for 8 months really appealed to me. So we formed a team, a team made up of, legitimately, some of the worst bowlers to ever join a league at Riviera Bowl. I was definitely one of them. In fact, I was, statistically, the second worst bowler in the league. Nevertheless, it was fun, we learned a little about bowling and a lot about self depreciation and humility. Mostly, other teams enjoyed playing with us, despite our high handicaps, and the possibility of losing to someone who doesn’t always break 100. And spend time together we did.
Oh, our team name was “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Gutter”. And yes, we had sweet bowling shirts.
Tom Lenerz, lead distiller at Wollersheim, was one of our gutter dusters, so I had a lot of time to chat and ask questions about facility set up and it really helped. He brought common sense to problems that I had far out-thought and a lot of reality to what I was trying to do. More than anything, we had a chance to start thinking creatively and collaboratively. So Whiskey Barrel coffee was born. It isn’t a new thing, other roasters do it, some, even bottling their beans. A brewer actually does it, and then bought a coffee roaster to roast them, specifically for a Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee Stout. So we weren’t breaking new ground, but for John Joseph Coffee, working with a fantastic family and company, in Wollersheim, and creating something interesting and beautifully new to us, this was a big deal.
We picked up the barrel on June 25th, and built a supremely useful stand for it. The barrel sits on 4 casters, allowing us to rotate the beans around inside, and also helping us to empty it, by rolling it upside down, and letting gravity do it’s thing. The beans went in on the 28th. They rested, and absorbed. Tom told me that in a newly emptied barrel, there is up to a liter of whiskey in the oak, and possibly more. My beans, from Peru, absorbed that liter.
We opened it up last Thursday, to an explosion of aroma, the green beans smell wonderful of green apple and tartness. We roasted them very gentle, because, again, we had never done this before. Our hope for beginners luck was granted, and we couldn’t be more excited to offer our customers this product. It’s aroma sells itself, but is milder, and sweeter in the cup. The rye and oak is definitely apparent, with molasses, but the smooth nuttiness of the Peru bean does dominate. It has to be tasted. And smelled. Both.
Whew. Long post, but we are really excited about this one. It’s available now, sitting on top of our currently out of order pinball machine…but that’s another story.
This is a very limited release! Stop in soon! Or buy online!