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Good Beer Hunting: Uppers and Downers Monday Night Dinner Series

On Monday, May 20th, Metric Coffee in collaboration with Good Beer Hunting kicked off their Monday Night Dinner series with our friends and wholesale partners Lula Café at the Hopewell Brewing space. The creators of this event, Michael Kiser and Hilary Schuster are also the minds behind the Good Beer Hunting series which hosts the annual Uppers & Downers event, which we have participated in the past with the likes of Off Color, Maplewood Brewing, and One Trick Pony. Also collaborating with Michael on these coffee-beer events is Stephen Morrissey, who was a former colleague of mine at Intelligentsia Coffee and is now involved with SCA. When the opportunity arose to partner with Hopewell Brewing on a dinner series in conjunction with Lula Café, we were beside ourselves. This is something that we have dreamed of doing for years, and we were so thrilled to be a part of an event that orchestrates and pools together such great brands all in one evening. 

Preparing for the Event

The conversation first took flight with the creation of a beer that would pair well with one of our current offerings. In doing so, we invited the Hopewell team to join us on a cupping to see which coffee they would gravitate to in order to make a final selection for the beer. On the table, we had a few African, Central and South American options that could have bode well for the beer, but the idea was to allow the Hopewell team to taste these coffees uninhibited and make a final decision based on what they are imagining for their beer. Their conclusion was the coffee I had hoped the would choose, our Peru Villa Rica Pacamara varietal. Here’s a little bit of history about this varietal from Perfect Daily Grind.

The Pacamara coffee varietal is a creation of the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research (ISIC) back in 1958, which resulted from the crossing of Pacas and the Maragogipe varietals. 
The idea behind the creation of the Pacamara hybrid was to get the best of the two varietals.  It was named PACAMARA in reference to the first four letters of each parent varietal. It took approximately 30 years of careful scientific research to create the Pacamara varietal.

 

This particular lot was produced by Jhonny Vidurizzaga and comes from the farm of his uncle, Javier Schuler, whose family emigrated to Villa Rica in the 1920s from Germany. This relationship would not have been made possibly were it not for our Quality Control Manager Mr. Jose Rivera’s connection to Jhonny back in Peru. Jhonny and Jose have been long time friends and coffee cohorts, with Jose helping Jhonny on processing projects in Villa Rica helping them find better ways to improve their quality from year to year. 

Now, fast-forward to a few weeks back, when we met with the Hopewell folks and the Peru Pacamara made the final selection for what would become the coffee they’d marry to the beer. In addition to this coffee, we also procured Red Bourbon Cascara from El Salvador to be made into another option for the dinner series collaboration.

Night of the Event

The event, which was held at the Hopewell brewing location kicked off around 6:30pm with drinks provided by both Hopewell and Lula which were served as guest settled in on Hopewell’s main floor. After a half hour of imbibing and getting to know one another, everyone took their places and the event began with an introduction of what the guests could expect for the evenings food and drink. Soon after the introduction, the kitchen started firing off the first group of dishes which where harmoniously paired with Hopewell’s delicious beers to wash it all go down with. On the coffee end, we began to furiously brew our Pacamara via Chemex in order to have plenty on hand to serve the guests in addition to our espresso option, was the Pacamara. For the evening, Michael from Good Beer Hunting graciously allowed us to borrow his La Marzzoco GS3 which helped us up our coffee game for the event and also allowed us to show how diverse this coffee truly is. After the desserts hit the table, we got to work. Darko manned the espresso bar and I handled the tableside Chemex service. In doing so, it allowed us to connect with each guest by highlighting everything from the coffees inherent flavors, to supply chain management and direct trade model, to how to brew a balanced cup at home. In doing events like these, it always serves as a reminder that while we live in a big world that over time has become developed a more sophisticated palate, our collective mission as an industry should always be to help the general public understand that quality isn’t a mishap; it takes a lot of hard work, patience and an understanding of the product you work with to arrive to a favorable or in our case a flavorful conclusion.

Here is the evenings menu along with the beers offered.

 

ANTIPASTI 
coppa with coffee oil and young mustard greens
so so many radishes, taleggio butter, seeded cracker
castelvetrano olives in celery salsa verde
baby turnips fermented in spent grains 
+
SANTA ANA
Oak barrel-aged wild fermented Farm & Family Saison steeped on Cascara for 45 minutes
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PRIMO
green garlic barley risotto with first harvest onions 
+
ULTRA GLOW
Dry-hopped tabled saison featuring Pacific Gem
 
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SECONDO
glazed pork shoulder with asparagus, scallion, swiss chard, and bagna cauda vinaigrette
(vegetarian option/ TBD: raviolini with spring peas, morels, artichoke) 
+
SWIFT IPA
Hopewell’s flagship IPA, featuring Amarillo, Simcoe and Centennial hops
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DOLCI 
Espresso budino with fig almond crumble
+
SQUAD
Hopewell’s anniversary Belgian-style quad
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CAFFÈ 
PERU - VILLA RICA PACAMARA
(have info but still need to write concise description)
+
COLD BREW
A collaboration with Metric Coffee using their Pacamara beans from Peru.

After the Event

Since day one at Metric, our goal has been simple: we want to source beautiful coffee, roast it here in Chicago and have the people enjoy it. We later learned that this “simple” wasn’t really all that simple. Starting a business here in Chicago takes a lot of guts, dedication and fighting with the local health department. For years, we have been embroiled in the day to day, which is what comes with the job, but dreaming about collaborations such as GBH’s Monday Night Dinner series are to us, the stuff of dreams. In a perfect culinary world, we imagine coffee to be just as regarded as any fine spirit, ale, or wine rather than the last ingredient that most places put any stock to. In the fine dining world, you have places like Noma in Denmark or Canlis in Seattle or our friends and partners Arbor here in Chicago that have full fledged coffee experts at the helm of their coffee programs that have made it their mission to showcase our industry in the same regards as the finest of wine makers in the world. But it is events like these dinners that start a conversation among coffee, food, and beer people alike, which is exactly what we aim for. While we as a company aren’t looking to fund the war on bad coffee, we aim to be a part of the conversation locally and hope to encourage for people to consider coffee as a lively, balanced and flavorful part of any meal or overall day.

In conclusion, we want to personally thank our friends at Lula for inspiring us with their talent, hospitality and humbleness, to the folks at Good Beer Hunting for their vision and innovation and last but not least to the great minds at Hopewell Brewing, whom we hope to be collaborating with for years to come.

-Xavier