Buzzy Beer

The matrimony of beer and coffee within Main Street Coffee Porter—a silk, garnet-hued porter brewed by BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant using house-roasted Maui Yellow Caturra beans from Roast Coffee & Tea Company—not only displays the successful convergence of two potable liquids, but of community businesses as well.

“We both share a micro approach to business and a similar philosophy of supporting local,” says Charles Noll, brewmaster of BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant in Patchogue. “The collaboration made sense.”

Noll, former brewmaster of Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery & General Store in Hyattsville, Maryland, joined the brewpub in March of 2011 with 14 years of professional experience (Noll also brewed at Harpoon Brewery’s facility in Windsor, Vermont) and eight years prior as a homebrewer.

And he has experimented with caffeine-infused beer during both stages. “I’ve tinkered with a lot of coffee stouts before, but never a coffee porter,” says Noll. “With Roast down the block, I saw the opportunity to add something new to our draft board that also tied together local, so I asked James [Skidmore] to start the process.”

Skidmore, manager of BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant, and daily patron at the specialty microroaster, asked William Closson (coproprietor with son, Evan) to select a bean from their rotating selection of six single-origin, direct-trade coffees (recent offerings include Doña Gloria High Altitude Caturra, a bold, almond-hinted Nicaraguan coffee, and El Salvador Peaberry, a full-bodied variety with peach, chocolate and citrus flavors) to complement the dark-malted profile of a porter. (The malt grains are on the left, in the photo above; the coffee beans are on the right.)

He chose Maui Yellow Caturra. “The Maui Yellow has nice licorice notes, with spice and floral undertones,” says Closson. “We felt it would work well with the dark roast of a porter.”

Ten pounds of the medium-roasted Hawaiian bean were transferred on Main Street—an expanse of small boutiques and galleries, and home to both establishments—to Noll, who used three pounds, ground, in the mash tun and seven pounds, brewed, in the kettle and fermenter. (“I also brewed a pot that morning, so it may be less than 10 pounds,” laughs Noll).

The result, Main Street Coffee Porter, is a rich, beige-headed balance of chocolate, dark cherry and coffee roast. “It’s a mellow and well-rounded beer, with a nice coffee aroma,” says Noll.

Though Main Street Coffee Porter is a “one-time batch,” according to Noll (the sole brewing session on December 28, 2011, yielded 310 gallons, the equivalent of 20 kegs), he hopes to utilize Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company’s portfolio of microroasted beans for future BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant beers.

“The buzz, no pun intended, from customers and the community has been real positive,” he says. “I would definitely be interested in rolling out a series of collaboration beers using different coffees.”