A Highland Brewing Company perennial favorite, Thunderstruck Coffee Porter, is back this October with two coffee infusions. The lightly caffeinated, cool weather beverage is a collaboration between Highland and Dynamite Roasting Company. After an August 12th tour of Dynamite Roasting and a primer on coffee tasting basics, the Highland brewing team got down to business and participated in a “cupping” to determine what roasts and varietals Highland wanted to include in this year’s recipe.
The cupping practice, guided by Dynamite owner Andy Gibbon, involves a multi-step process of steeping, smelling and audible slurping (the louder the better) to fully realize the coffees’ characteristics. “There are some really cool parallels in the sensory evaluation of coffee and beer. I’m now able to experience my second favorite beverage with the same amount of depth that I enjoy a good beer,” said Brewmaster Hollie Stephenson. After sampling several varietals, the fully amped group settled on a dark roast Mexican blend for the brew house addition, and a lighter Honduran blend for the post fermentation addition.
There are two distinct segments of brewing the newest Thunderstruck Coffee Porter. Early in the brewing process, referred to as the hot-side, Highland adds Mexican coffee at the end of the boil, which extracts the flavors much like the way coffee is made at home. Later, on the cold-side part of brewing, Honduran coffee and a portion of the base beer are blended, allowing the coffee to concentrate, after which the hi-test liquid is injected and circulated into each tank. To ensure that each batch of Thunderstruck is at its peak of freshness, Dynamite works with Highland’s schedule to grind the coffee the morning of each brew day. From start to finish this beer is a labor of love for our brewers, and that comes through in the robust, clean coffee flavor that is dominant in this otherwise well balanced porter.
Join the team at Highland Brewing on October 14th starting at 4pm as the first keg of the season is tapped. Highland will have live music and food trucks on hand as part of the celebration. In addition to Thunderstruck bottles to go, packages of Dynamite Roasting coffees will be available. This beverage pack goes from morning to night.
Thunderstruck Coffee Porter, like Highland’s other seasonal beers, is named for a protected feature of the Southern Appalachian landscape. Conserving this area’s land and water retains its true value and beauty. To that end, every glass of Thunderstruck sold on October 14th will result in one dollar donated to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. For more information about our efforts with SAHC, please visit Appalachian.org.