29 February 2012
As you may have read by now, we decided to go with the name “Weasel Rodeo” for our second collaboration with Mikkeller, originally called “‘Ale/Malt Liquor in TX’ Geek Brunch, which will be featured at our March 17th Danish Day Festival.
Weasel Rodeo draws its inspiration from Mikkeller’s original version of Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, an imperial oatmeal stout, brewed with a blend of “weasel coffee” and other Vietnamese coffees. We ordered a similar blend of coffee to what Mikkeller uses for our version, but also added a small percentage of smoked malt and a bit of ground chipotle pepper as a nod to its Texas birthplace.
The coffee that we ordered came from famous Vietnamese roaster, Trung Nguyen, and included some authentic Kopi Luwak (weasel or civet coffee), one of their proprietary house blends, and a large portion of their Legendee Classic Chon (“Weasel”), which is made using a unique set of enzymatic reactions replicating those that take place in the production of Kopi Luwak, but without passing through the digestive tract of an actual weasel.
When getting ready to add the coffee roughly 24 hours before packaging last week, we discovered that we had quite a bit more than our recipe required, so we decided to save some for the original batch, which we’d been aging in whiskey barrels for the last several months, just before we packaged it. Unfortunately, due to some internal miscommunication and our collective inability to read Vietnamese (and sometimes English), we ended up adding all of the Legendee and Trung Nguyen house blend and saving all of the Kopi Luwak. We could have just let this pass, and it’s pretty unlikely that anyone would have noticed if we had, but as artisan brewers, we feel it’s important to be upfront with our customers about what is and isn’t in our beer, even if it means suffering a bit of embarrassment when mistakes like this are made.
In summary, and in bold caps for those of you who stopped reading several paragraphs ago, THE FIRST BATCH OF WEASEL RODEO DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY KOPI LUWAK (WEASEL COFFEE).
So what does this mean in practical terms? Well, for one thing, it means that there’s no reason for vegetarians to feel guilty when drinking this beer. For another, it means that the whiskey barrel aged version, which we’re calling “Whiskey Rodeo” is now going to be the most ludicrously expensive beer ever sold in the State of Texas, and this initial batch of non whiskey barrel aged Whiskey Rodeo will be a little less so. Seriously, if you’re thinking of buying a bottle of Whiskey Rodeo, start saving now. Kopi Luwak costs over $200/lb (as compared with Legendee which costs a mere $35/lb). But no, in case you’re asking, we do not have any intention of packaging Whiskey Rodeo in dead weasels. That’s really gross.
In terms of flavor, we were extremely pleased with the blend that we used and how its flavors worked together with those already present in the beer. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be releasing it. When we brew another batch that does use Kopi Luwak, will the difference between the two be noticeable? Probably, if you’ve got a fairly sensitive palate and taste them side by side. Otherwise, maybe not. Will the Kopi Luwak version be more expensive to make? Absolutely! (which isn’t to say that this batch was by any means cheap). Will it be better? Until we brew it, there’s really no way to know, and even then, there’s likely to be some debate.
In the meantime, this batch of Weasel Rodeo, which if you ask us, is tasting pretty damn delicious, will be available at a very small number of select locations around the state following its March 17 debut, and in 750ml bottles in early April.