Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was started by a pair of home brewers out of a love for good beer and has over many years grown to become one of the country’s largest and most-beloved craft-focused breweries. Counter Culture Coffee was started by a pair of coffee-focused entrepreneurs and has grown from running a single wholesale account in Durham into one of the country’s largest and most-beloved craft-focused roasteries.
Now they also have a beer in common. In collaboration with All About Beer Magazine, Counter Culture President Brett Smith, Head Roaster Jeff McArthur and Buyer/Quality Manager Tim Hill were recently invited to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp #122 at its home base in Chico, Calif. There beer people and the coffee people tweaked, tasted, slurped, brewed (coffee), brewed (beer) and tasted some more, and the result was “No Middle Ground,” a an IPA made with the experimental 291 hop and Counter Culture’s cold-brewed single-origin Haru Ethiopian coffee.
Says Smith, who co-founded CCC nearly 20 years ago, “Tim, Jeff, and I are, as you might imagine, extremely into coffee, and — surprise — we also happen to love beer.”
The bad news is the beer is limited, but it is available at upcoming tastings at all of CCC’s eight existing regional training centers now that the crew has returned from camp (All About Beer Magazine will have the ticket info). In an announcement released yesterday, CCC provides some information on the brewing process and results:
Large batches of cold-brewed Haru were made on premises at Sierra Nevada’s brewery and added to the beer just before filtration, at the peak of flavor and freshness. While dark-roasted, chocolaty coffees are typically used in darker, more malty beers, No Middle Ground stands alone as a light, refreshing amber-colored IPA showcasing citric, floral coffee and the tropical fruit notes of the IPA, made with Mosaic, Calypso, and “291” hops.
Here’s a short, not particularly informative video about CCC’s trip to Beer Camp that does have one notable insight from Hill, who helped develop CCC’s coffee tasters flavor wheel. Says he, “The sensory stuff that they’re doing here is I think light years ahead of what I’ve seen in the coffee industry and other industries:”