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Crossing the Damen Divide: Goose Island x Metic Coffee

This Saturday (3.23.19), we’re excited to tap into our latest coffee-beer collaboration: Damen Divide! This Dunkelweizen coffee-beer is especially exciting because it marks our first time teaming up with friends and neighbors, Goose Island, not only to produce a coffee-beer but also to learn from their extensive expertise and resources.

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Our relationship with Goose began mostly across the counter. Located just down Fulton and across the titular Damen Ave, members of Goose’s team frequent our #metricwestfulton cafe; we, their taproom. After some pleasantry and product trading, their team invited us down to kick the tires on something more than just a pint. Paul Cade, one of the brewers who led the project, commented, “the value in collaborating is working and learning from a group of people with a different set of skills.” Paul gets at what attracted us to developing Damen Divide. Having crafted delicious coffee-beers in the past, this was our first time working at this scale and bringing our coffee to a new style they wanted to explore. Dunkelweizens are a less well know wheat beer with rich-coloring, dark malts: a beer that was frankly foreign to most of our team. With Goose's help, we learned from their set of skills what we needed to find the perfect coffee pairing.

[Goose Island's Paul Darnaby Cupping in our Lab]

Due to its darker Vienna or Munich malts, Dunkelweizen profiles traditionally consist of toffee, banana, and clove notes. Our coffee palates immediately drifted to Central America in search of a traditional but nuanced flavor to compliment this style's robust body. After a group cupping, all parties landed on a coffee from one of our relationship producers in Honduras, Denis Enamorado. Working with Denis going on four years, we already knew his 2018 lot was special; it burst with pear, mango, and molasses notes that also just so happened to pack the perfect sweet characteristics we sought for this beer. Rather than competing with the “malt base… and the hint of banana from the yeast,” as Paul put it, Denis provided a soft pop to the Dunkel's depth. From there, the Goose flock took to point but generously kept us involved, even allowing us even to help brew the mash (the base) of Damen Divide and experimenting with different recipes of how exactly to introduce the coffee into the brew.

[Metric's Connor, @kondorfalcon, (me!) Stirring Malt at Goose]

[Metric's Jess, @jess_salgado, Assessing Damen Divide Variations on Goose's Tap Deck]

Now several months later and with a lot of consideration, work, and relationship churned into this beer, we’re ecstatic to share Damen Divide with you. Helping commemorate the launch, we'll have retail bags of a custom Damen Divide blend available as well as the opportunity to add a Hellion cold brew sidecar to your 16oz pour of Damen Divide (while supplies last). And if that's not enough, Goose and ManBQue’s own, Jesse Valenciana will be barbecuing German-style brats with a Honduran twist. So this Saturday at 5 pm, join us at our neighbors to share some good times and flavors!

A Time for Humans: Metric & Chicago Community Raise over $1,000 for Kaleidoscope 4 Kids

With a lot of us wrapping up holiday travel and time with others, your Metric humans find ourselves reflecting on our recent Holiday Throwdown. On December 18, 2018 at Caffe Streets, as the cafe’s day concluded, we made our way into the shop repurposing it. We hung tinsel streamers. We polka-dotted the lighting fixtures with ornaments. Most importantly we crammed nearly a hundred people into Streets.

Metric and other coffee companies can’t operate without communicating with other humans. Coffee is an inherently social industry, with people at every level of the coffee chain: from producing partners at origin to the humans serving at their given restaurants or cafes. However, the social interactions often stop at coffee talk. Our Holiday Throwdown was an exercise in trying to buck this trend looking passed coffee or business delineations. Rather than seeing brands as restrictions, we looked for the event to pull resources from like-minded sponsors (such as Oatly) to build a gathering centered on the community and the humans at the core of our work.

Our Partnerships and Projects Manager, Jess Salgado, headed the event coordination as she collaborated with other humans on our team and our sponsors. Throughout the event’s development, she continued to reiterate an intention of making the Holiday Throwdown an inclusive celebration focused on “uplifting” and “supportive” themes. As a team, we looked to manifest this direction in a variety of ways. We fashioned our company GoPro to project a the pours so those outside the baristas and judges could see the work. We developed a raffle with prizes outside of having exclusively worth in coffee, such as a First Ascent climbing package, tattoo gift certificate to Time Being. We utilized banners loaned to us from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids’ to help decorate Caffe Streets.

This attention to planning went equal parts into intentional re-commitment of our relationship to, the aforementioned, Kaleidoscope 4 Kids. Having worked previously with Kaleidoscope, their cause of uplifting Chicago youths has lingered with us. (For those unfamiliar, Kaleidoscope 4 Kids provides programming for children to cope with trauma through artistic expression [see the images below]). We invited them to come and be part of the evening as well as the recipients of the evening's proceeds. Their executive director, Kathy Grzelak's presence and opening words were a pertinent extension of the humanistic themes at the heart of the event allowing us to fully actualize the party as a benefit for a beyond worthy cause.

With textual reminiscence aside, it only seems fit to conclude this year and this recap with some humanity. Please enjoy the following images of the humans that made this event so special for us:

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(Bess, Kathy, [from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids] and friends)

(Banner from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids made by the kids)

(Jonathan Parnell [our Volunteer Event Bartender])

(Katie Thomas & Mickey Kennedy)

(Ivan and Will)

(Harris Nash with Uprise's donated Jesse Neuhaus Bonsai board)

(John Petrenko)

(Paul Octavious, Mike Duesenberg [Holiday Throwdown poster co-designer], Ty Banks [Metric Barista, Educator, Throwdown winner]).

Images courtesy of Matthew Schwerin.

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Full Sponsor List (in alphabetical order): Able BrewingAsrai GardenCandid WinesFederal MotoFirst Ascent ChicagoHopewellKaleidoscopeLa MarzoccoLonesome RoseMahlkönigOatlyPastoral ArtisanRancilioRhine HallSolemn OathSpirit TeaTrade Coffee CoTomorrow Never Knows FestivalTopo ChicoUprise SkateshopVirtue Cider, & Wayward

Metric x Hopewell: Deluxe, an Imperial Coffee Stout.

We are (and have been) big admirers of Hopewell appreciating how they balance quality and design harmoniously with their small-ness. So when they reached out several months ago, we jumped at the opportunity to collaborate on a coffee beer.

The collaboration began with a cupping. Xavier, Metric co-owner and project parley, wanted Hopewell to choose the coffee via a blind taste test ensuring that the brewers had an intimate relationship with the coffee and its flavor profile. With six coffees on the table, the consensus pointed to incorporating a balanced, clean Honduras lot: Beneficio San Vicente.

From there, Hopewell created a cold concentrate that they incorporated into an imperial stout base. Then, they steeped coarsely ground San Vicente in the beer yielding a sweet, but balanced brew with notes of fudge and caramel rounding out the beer. 

For a visual overview, check out Potluck Creative's well-crafted synopsis: