Beer maven Christine Celis, daughter of legendary Brewmaster Pierre Celis, and herself former President of Austin’s Celis Brewing, is teaming up with Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que and Austin Java for the latest release in her Gypsy Collaborations series.
The innovative new brew, a Dubbel Coffee Porter, is being released tonight (Thursday, November 6) at Uncle Billy’s with launch events to follow at bars around Austin throughout November and December.
Christine and former Celis Brewer Kim Clarke released their first Gypsy series collaboration, a Belgian IPA, with Austin’s Adelbert’s Brewery last fall, and chose Uncle Billy’s as the next collaborator for their series.
“[This] collaboration came about when one of Texas’ first brewpub entrepreneurs and craft-beer visionary, Rick Engel, read about the success of our Gypsy IPA release [with Adelbert’s] and called me,” Celis said, in a press release announcing the collaboration. “I was captured by Rick’s passion for craft beer and his plan [for Uncle Billy’s] to be the first brewpub to be distributed by a 3rd party in Texas. Celis was the first craft beer brewery in Texas and Rick opened Houston’s first Brew Pub since prohibition. I just knew I had to work with him to create another first—Gypsy Dubbel Coffee Porter!”
In addition to Uncle Billy’s, Engel is also part-owner of Austin Java. The local chain’s Barton Springs location is just a stone’s throw away from the brewpub, making it a match made in coffee + beer heaven.
“I want people to say this beer has this nice Belgian essence to it from the yeast but it also has this nice coffee on the back end…just a little hint of that coffee,” Celis told Bitch Beer. “There’s so much to learn about beer, but oh my god, there’s also so much to learn about coffee.”
To help shed some light, Patrick Palmer, Master Coffee Roaster for Austin Java, was brought on board. After some taste tests, Palmer eventually landed on a blend of Guatemalan and Peruvian coffees to be cold pressed and incorporated into the beer before kegging.
“Peruvian coffee tends to be sweet and mild with heavy notes of cocoa and toffee,” Palmer said. “This is combined with coffee from Guatemala that brings a slight floral taste into the mix and brighter flavor. Both coffees hail from regions known to produce excellent beans and each have unique characteristics that set them apart.”
Palmer has collaborated with Uncle Billy’s before, lending his coffee expertise to the brewpub’s Insomnia Stout, but really enjoyed the process of working with Uncle Billy’s Brewer Brad Mortensen and the team from Celis on this beer.
“For this entire project, I’ve felt like I’ve been working with some of the best talent in the Austin craft industry and each person involved really brought their A-game,” Palmer said. “These are all really great people who take what they do serious and I know that it reflects in the quality of the beer.”
Mortensen elaborated on just how everyone’s efforts contributed to the final product.
“As a brewer at small brewery, you often work alone with one of the bright spots being designing new beers,” Mortensen said. “So when you get the opportunity to bounce thoughts off of other people that you respect, you develop all kinds of ideas that you wouldn’t have come up with on your own. Working with Rick Engel, Kim Clarke, Patrick and Christine has been inspiring. Everyone brought their own ideas to the table. Patrick blended the perfect coffee to compliment the Belgian Ale yeast that Christine picked out. Kim and I worked on the recipe together and everyone was here as I brewed the beer with Trevor Nearburg (Uncle Billy’s new brewer). We had a great brew day and have come up with a unique and interesting beer. I think, together we invented a new style; Coffee Dubbel Porter.”
After Gypsy’s initial draft release, it will also be released in cans (four packs of 16oz pounders) and distributed to retailers around Austin.
“For me, to have a beer with Belgian influences [packaged] in a can makes it even more special,” Celis said. “I want to actually send a couple of cans over to Belgium to some of my friends and see their reactions to that.”
Tonight’s Gypsy release at Uncle Billy’s will run from 6 to 8pm. Click on the table above or visit the Gypsy Collaborations Website for information on Gypsy’s other launch events.