A Chip Off the Old Block

BYOB by | Jan 2014 | Issue #84

Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

I recently stopped by Smog City Brewing Co. in Torrance, Calif., and enjoyed a taste of their beers, including their Groundwork Coffee Porter. Assistant brewer Chris Walowski pointed out his special experimental twist—“Chip Shot Coffee Porter”—a vanilla-orange Coffee Porter. Naturally, this intrigues an inspiration junkie like me.

Here’s how the “Chip Shot” came to be: Chris found himself one night in a little dive bar to the north, in Bakersfield. Talk turned to coffee cocktails, including the Chip Shot, a blend of coffee, Tuaca and Bailey’s.

The next week, as a fresh batch of Groundwork hit the tanks, he thought: “Meld in the flavors of a Chip Shot!” He and owner and brewmaster Jonathan Porter devised a plan. After several trials and experimental uses of “orange peel powder,” they’re infusing the base beer with the peels of several orange varieties, vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks to mimic the cocktail. They add the mix to a keg of Porter, wait a week and serve.

Super simple! It shows how sense memory can lead you in a strange but good direction. Also, take note of how they use a beer already on-hand to get a new brew, with just a simple alteration. Imagine you’ve got a party coming up—why not infuse part of an existing homebrew with something different? It doesn’t have to be a full batch, just a growler or smaller keg. Go wild!

(Thanks to Jonathan and Laurie Porter, and Chris Walowski, for sharing their story.)

For 5.5 gallons at 1.072, 47 IBU, 7.5% ABV

Grain Bill
12.0 lb. Maris Otter
1.0 lb. Crystal 40L
1.0 lb. Munich
0.75 lb. pale chocolate malt
0.50 lb. black malt

Mash at 154°F for 60 minutes.

1.0 oz Magnum (pellets) | 12% AA | 60 minutes

US-05, WLP001 California Ale, or Wyeast 1056 Chico Ale

Additional Ingredients
1.0 lb. light- to medium-roast coffee, coarsely ground
1 oz fresh orange peel
3 each vanilla beans
1 each cinnamon stick

Ferment beer completely. Rack to secondary on coffee in a fine mesh bag. Steep for three days. It’s important to only allow the coffee to remain in contact with the beer for a short period, to avoid extracting the harsher coffee characters. Rack to a keg or another fermentor. Add the remaining spices, and steep for at least a week before serving. At Smog City, they leave the spices in the beer the whole time.