We love to pair beer with all sorts of different aspects of culture here at October, and one of the most natural pairings is with coffee. Some of America’s most popular beers use the bean as an ingredient, but that’s Pairing 101. What Colectivo – a coffee roaster with a gaggle of cafes featuring in-house baked goods and a developing line of beers – does with coffee and beer is an advance class.
Thursday, June 29th, October will help welcome the Milwaukee-based cafe to their first Chicago location in Lincoln Park. The Happy Hour will run from 6-9 on the patio – gone is the parking lot at 2530 North Clark. On hand will be Grant Pauly, Founder and Brewmaster at Colectivo’s brewing partner, 3 Sheeps Brewery. On tap will be four beers that, along with Colectivo’s coffee and cafe philosophy, help showcase “the entire lifecycle of coffee, and every aspect of the coffee experience” as Scott Schwebel of Colectivo put it.
Sure, they'll have an IPA. Sure, they’ve got the Cortado Imperial Coffee Stout. That’s the type of coffee and beer we’re used to – deep, dark roasty notes paired with beer’s natural sweetness. That is a special beer because it was the genesis of the partnership between Colectivo and 3 Sheeps, but it also comes into the cycle of coffee at the end, a bean processed into a consumable that we will enjoy in an indoor-outdoor space that every one of Colectivo’s cafes insist on creating.
But then there’s the Cascara Farmhouse Ale, a light, fruited Saison that features a part of the coffee plant you may not be familiar with. The cascara is the fruit around the bean that we so seek, and it’s normally discarded. Or used in compost. Or maybe tea sometimes. In this Saison, you’ll taste some of what you might get if coffee was a fruit and that fruit was in your Farmhouse.
This is significant in terms of the lifecycle because it shows how Colectivo has “worked hard to forge a deep relationship with a collaborative process” with the farms in Central and South America that they’ve been in partnership with for 15 years, as Schwebel put it. You have waste? We can take advantage of that opportunity.
Even the Lemongrass Pils represents that process. Farming at high altitudes – where the coffee bean thrives – is not easy. Coffee itself has a limited harvest. Colectivo “hoped to help their farmers find ways to extend their harvest cycle” according to Schwebel. Lemongrass grows in the same places coffee does, and isn't limited the same way in terms of harvest, so it helps keep the farm productive while they wait for the coffee to be ready again.
A while back, a few Colectivo coffee heads were also homebrewing hobbyists. Connecting with Pauly at 3 Sheeps was an inspiration to the crew, and helped inform the scope of their relationships with their farmers in Central and South America. So much so that the company then went on to expand their beer program and form Colectivo Keg Company.
That’s part of the life cycle of this story of pairing beer and bean, Milwaukee and Chicago. And the life cycle of coffee itself. And all of it will be on display at Thursday’s happy hour, for the pleasure of your taste buds.