… is Speedway Stout in your cup.
That advice might only be suitable for a select few, but what if I told you there was coffee, a special kind of coffee infused into that beer, and no I’m not talking about Folgers.
According to the good folks at AleSmith Brewing Company they will be kicking off their 2014 Reserve Series this Saturday March 8, 2014 “with a brand new addition to the Speedway Stout family, Jamaica Blue Mountain Speedway. Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans are grown in the fertile soil of some of the highest Caribbean peaks, making it one of the most prized gourmet coffees in the world. This rare coffee uses lightly roasted Arabica beans to create subtle acidity and a well-balanced chocolaty finish. With the help of local roaster, Mostra Coffee, these 100% Blue Mountain beans were sourced from the renowned Mavis Bank Coffee Factory in Jamaica. Carefully roasted and cold-brewed, this coffee is the perfect complement to our award-winning Imperial Stout.”
The above press release has been shared, reposted, and reblogged countless times.
What exactly does this mean. If you are reading this blog, you probably know what’s so great about Speedway Stout, but what about the coffee? Who or what is Mostra?
Mostra Coffee Company, in the words of its founders, is a San Diego founded and based “artisan micro- roasting company that sources, roasts, brews, and serves premium, fair-trade specialty coffee. Mostra Coffee was established in the North County (Rancho Bernardo) area of San Diego after seeing the lack of specialty coffee outside of the large corporate chains. Mostra Coffee was founded by Beverly Magtanong, Jelynn Sophia, Mike Arquines, Sam Magtanong, and RJ Ocubillo in 2013. Future plans include introducing a new line of premium coffee from the Philippines, in addition to opening a brick-and- mortar location. ”MOSTRA. The Italian word for ‘show,’ ‘exhibition,’ or ‘performance.’ We are dedicated to giving the best performance. From the quality of our coffee beans, to the way we roast, brew, and serve our customers. Mostra Coffee. Because the best performances offer the best of life.”
This company has made a big splash on the San Diego culinary scene since first opening last year, but how does a company so young build a reputation strong enough to join in on an AleSmith Speedway Stout Collaboration?
Troll the BeerAdvocate.com message boards and you can find out for yourself, or just read the following excerpt where member “whalewatchin” identifies himself as Mostra’s Head Roaster, Chef Mike Arquines! In the message board post, quoted below Mr. Arquines details just what exactly makes this beer more than hype.
“My name is Mike Arquines and i’m the head roaster over at Mostra Coffee in San Diego. Chef & Roaster by trade…Beer and Bourbon lover, trader, sharer everyday! Started off roasting in a cast iron skillet on my electric stove, then a hot air popcorn popper. Moved on to 1lb San Franciscan roaster and shortly after, a 25lb beauty of a behemoth SF that is now the centerpiece of our HQ.
Our roasting facility/distribution warehouse and tasting room in Carmel Mountain. I love everyone’s comments and most of all, I love me some beer. If anyone’s in the area, please don’t hesitate to stop in for a cup or 3 (or IP trade of some sort!) of coffee….or maybe even stay longer to cup some of our newer coffee selections.
A little backround about how are our Collab with Alesmith came about:
I Had drinks with Bill (brewer extraordinaire over at Alesmith ) and some friends one night and discussed a possible coffee collab with their speedway stout.. I threw out different options of coffee varieties, lots, etc and we both agreed that the JBM’s flavor characteristics would be perfect…if, 1. Can we source some beans (2 barrels in the U.S. at the time) and 2. Can we roast it precisely to the flavor profile they were trying to achieve. Challenge accepted.
After weeks of hunting, we finally sourced some true 100% JBM (a lot of fakes out there) from the Mavis Bank Estate, we proceeded to cup (taste) different 20+ roast levels ranging from really light to waaay past 2nd crack to ensure a thorough examination of nuances, flavor profiles and most importantly, adhere and abide by the strict standards that Alesmith is known for and has set for us.
We settled on 4 roast levels and brought them all to Alesmith for Peter and the brewers to cup while not letting them know we already had our favorite picked out prior to the the tasting. Luckily, they all unanimously chose the one we all thought was the winner (wheew!). We then brewed the winning JBM roast for them to taste, as well as cold brewed concentrated version (full flavored, less acidic) and they decided to go with latter. Dosing, measuring amounts yadayada were finally worked out and after numerous tastes and palette balancing acts….A final ratio of Speedway to Cold Brew was found. It even gave Peter Zien and I quote, “Goosebumps”… Definitely not a bad thing.
So, to sum it all up…Jamaica Blue wasn’t selected for its scarcity or to be gimmicky, but more for the flavor profile that Peter and Bill of Alesmith were looking for. We pitched different coffee varieties, rare and most not so rare…but we all agreed that JBM fit the flavor they were looking for and ultimately, it was there decision to go with it and man are we happy they did : )
Hope you guys enjoy as much as we enjoyed being a part of the process of it. In the mean time, do Pre-ISO’s, wait in line for Younger, and countdown the days until Hunaphu Day, cause you know where i’ll be………..trying to get my mules (or sherpas as I like to call em) in line for that Taps/El Cerrito Collab “REMY” release February 16th! : ) Cheers everyone!”
The plaid clad gentleman in the photo above, whom everyone is fixated on, is Chef Mike Arquines. What his message board post tells you is not so much that the forthcoming Speedway variant is good, but that the beer was made with good intentions. That is to say Mostra coffee, and the people behind this collaboration are people with integrity. The kind of integrity needed to take to a message board and actually discuss the process outside the realm of press release, PR management, or carefully thought out viral marketing campaigns. The kind of integrity needed to disclose and demystify the brewing process. The kind of integrity to be vulnerable, especially when the message board clearly shows people asserting their disdain for an unreleased beer. Through his post Chef Mike showed that not only is he a skilled roaster and chef, not only is Mostra a world-class coffee company, not only is this a collaboration. This post showed that this collaboration was done by the craft beer fan for the craft beer fan.
The bottles sold out online in 18 minutes (1,080 seconds if you prefer) so AleSmith and Mostra, in a way, have already won. Hype? Will the beer live up to it? Yes to some and No to others, that is to be certain. What also is certain, in this writer’s opinion, is that the display of integrity already made this beer a winner by going beyond the hype.
Gonzalo J. Quintero, Ed.D.