Portland is known for many things these days like pinot noir, food trucks and great food to name a few, however, a couple of things stand out for me, espresso and beer. Not necessarily always together, but in the case of the Laurelwood Organic Portland Roast Espresso Stout, they are intertwined as a blend that encompasses the senses and excites the palette creating one deliciously well rounded stout that highlights the powers of both espresso and beer.
Known for 30 years as North America’s craft brewing mecca and for at least the last 10 years as the nation’s hotbed for espresso, it would make sense that a Portland craft brewer and a Portland coffee roaster would collaborate on such an effort. And they have. There have been many coffee and beer collaborations over the years and like the beers before it, the Laurelwood Organic Portland Roast Espresso Stout will not let you down.
I was hoping to speak briefly with each side of this equation. Marie Franklin of Portland Roasting was kind enough to speak for a few minutes about the collaborative effort. Chad Kennedy of Laurelwood Public House and Brewery was unavailable when this went to print, so I will track him down later for a future beer and food pairing.
For the record, Marie didn’t and still doesn’t know that I was going to add our conversation to my article. At the time I didn’t have plans to write an article. So, it was an afterthought to speak with the brewer and when I decided to contact him, I learned that Chad had left Laurelwood for Bend, OR where he will start work on his own production brewery.
5 questions with Marie:
BB: What led to this collaborative effort?
Marie: With Portland being a mecca for hand crafted beer and coffee, it was only a natural fit that we would happen to collaborate with one of our customers.
BB: Does Portland Roasting forsee working with any other breweries on similar beers?
Marie: I’m sure that we will partner with other local breweries in the future. Our team here is made up of beer crazy coffee nuts. With all the creative people working in both industries, I’m sure we will be called on again as a creative ingredient in another unique and world class beer.
BB: What role did you play in this beer’s development?
Marie: Really, just as a critical taster. A guinea pig with an opinion if you will. Our roasting team worked with Chad Kennedy at Laurelwood to develop just the right combination of espresso roast in the stout. It could not be just any bean. This was a blend of ethiopian and sumatran. Beans, like hops have many different characteristics just as hops and other key ingredients do.
BB: What characteristics of the beer stood out the most for you?
Marie: Taste is so personal and subjective. Here, try a bottle for yourself and tell me what you think.
BB: For me?
Marie: Yes, enjoy. Don’t say I never gave you anything.
I had actually stopped in to half heartedly inquire about a job opportunity at Portland Roasting that I had seen online but mostly to try and get a pound of free Sumatran coffee from her. I’ll take the beer anytime.
With that the Laurelwood Organic Portland Roast Espresso Stout poured a dark brown, copper overtone in color with a coffee and chocolate aroma. Not real acidic, smooth but not a real big mouthfeel. Good though. Toasty would be a descriptive I would use or roasty. At 6% ABV, a very drinkable beer.