Counter Culture partners with Sierra Nevada on coffee beer

Aug. 03, 2014 @ 05:21 PM

When All About Beer Magazine announced a plan for an India Pale Ale brewed with Counter Culture coffee, Terence Sullivan was wary.

Sullivan, the product manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, said he associates beer and coffee differently and it wouldn’t be his drink of choice in a bar.
But all that changed when he tasted it.
“You go to tilt it up and the visual is automatically telling you this should be fruity and light in character … and it smells like a coffee,” Sullivan said. “I call it a mindbender.”
Then, Sullivan ended up drinking two or three pints in a one-hour session.
The beer, No Middle Ground, was made at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp in Chico, California. The camp, which is hosted about 25 times each year, invites attendees to design, brew and take home a beer.
Tim Hill, coffee buyer and quality manager at Counter Culture, said No Middle Ground is different from most coffee-brewed beers, which are often heavy porters or stouts.
“We didn’t want to do something dark,” Hill said. “You don’t want a stout or porter in the middle of summer.”
In mid-August, Counter Culture, 4911 South Alston Ave., will host a free tasting of the limited quantity IPA from 6 to 8 p.m.
The partnership started when All About Beer invited Counter Culture to Sierra Nevada’s 122nd camp with a plan to make the IPA.
“I think my expectations were more than met,” Hill said. “The brewery learned about how we look at coffee and we learned about how they look at beer.”
Sullivan said No Middle Ground is a great concept and a potentially groundbreaking beer.
No Middle Ground uses Counter Culture’s single-origin washed Haru coffee from Ethiopia and an experimental hop known as “291.”
John Holl, editor of All About Beer, wanted to accentuate the coffee used with similar berry notes from the 291 hops, Sullivan said.
Sullivan said that Sierra Nevada has discussed potential collaborations with Counter Culture again in the future.
“It was really fun working with these guys,” he said.