We spotted a Coffee Eugene label come through the TTB a while ago — and now we’ve got advance info on Rev’s newest release.
According to Revolution Brewing CFO Doug Veliky, Revolution will soon announce the release of one of the most-requested one-off beers in Rev’s back catalog: Coffee Eugene Porter.
The new coffee porter will be an amped-up batch of their year-round Eugene, which in the past has seen variants like blueberry (Blue Gene), barrel-aged (Mean Gene) and imperial-strength (Hugene) released as well. It’ll be mixed with a blend of three different Dark Matter coffees as determined by innovation brewer Marty Scott and “dry-beaned” in the fermenter for approximately the last week of fermentation.
The beer hasn’t been brewed since December 2015, but it’s been fairly front of mind for Veliky. “Since I started here, the number-one question I’ve gotten from people who know Revolution Brewing well…is when are you going to make Coffee Eugene again?” Veliky said. “I couldn’t believe that was the first question so many people had for me. Everybody loved that beer, but nobody had a really good reason for why we haven’t made that beer.”
There are now a few different reasons for making that beer, not the least of which was simple popularity.
For starters, Rev just got a couple new toys that they wanted to test out. A new can filler recently arrived, and Coffee Eugene will be the first run on that. The filler is largely expected to help maintain freshness and extend the lifespan of their many hoppy beers — Veliky said it would add a few extra weeks to the lifespan of Anti-Hero, for example.
They’ll also be testing out their pasteurization system on Coffee Eugene and make sure that the flavor holds up through that process before moving onto pasteurizing their specialty barrel-aged offerings. Also, per Veliky, “you never know what’s growing on coffee beans, and if you make a beer that people might hang on to for a couple months, you want to … make sure there’s nothing harmful [to the beer] on there.”
This first run of Coffee Eugene will also test the velocity of a special release event at the Kedzie brewery — it’ll also be the first Sunday special release in Revolution’s history — and will serve as a test run for the barrel-aged can releases scheduled throughout the winter. For this beer release, they’re planning to make just one batch of about 270 cases (mostly in cans but they’ll hold back a few barrels for their outlets and a few beer bars), which is a very small package run for one of the largest craft breweries in the nation.
Finally, Veliky hopes that the re-release of a packaged Coffee Eugene will help rediscover their year-round porter, which is just one of a handful of porters widely available throughout the year. “Eugene’s a beer that we love so much and many consider it one of our most well-made beers … but it’s certainly not one of our most popular. We want to see if maybe Coffee Eugene will help people rediscover Eugene.”
The official announcement comes tomorrow, on the first day of fall — just the right time for any porter, not just a coffee-laden one. No seasonal creep here.
Sales will take place at the taproom on Sunday, October 22 between 12-6 p.m. The higher price per sixpack is due to the use of higher-cost shrinkwrapped cans since it’s a smaller batch size, as well as the cost of the coffee itself. Expected retail is $13 per sixpack, but you’ll be able to pick up a sixer of Coffee Eugene and regular Eugene for $20. Anything remaining after that will only be sold at the taproom and a few at the Milwaukee brewpub.
In order to sweeten the prospect of a Sunday trip to the taproom, they also plan to tap some special vintage barrel-aged options, and also put some cellared beers up for sale at retail — there are some bottles of Batch 1 Straightjacket, 3rd Year Beer, 2013 Deth Star and others that will be available for purchase. “We figured with the switch to cans this year, we’d stop hoarding those and let the public have it,” Veliky said.
Could Coffee Eugene ever make it out of a tiny-batch, taproom-only release into larger distribution? “We’re not expecting this to enter into our seasonal line – but you never know,” Veliky said. “This one isn’t really about making money — [it’s] more about testing a concept [and] finally giving people beer that our hardcore fans have been asking for.”
Other things we learned:
- The new can filler will also allow Revolution to package 19.2oz cans of beer, as evidenced in the above Anti-Hero silo can label.
- The brewery’s annual Penguin Hops beer is not entirely made from Shedd Aquarium-grown hops — it’s augmented, per Veliky, “by hops from [pub brewer] Wil [Turner]’s backyard.” #tmyk
- Rev is now making sixtel kegs of their new wethopped harvest ale, Farm to Fist IPA (mostly made with fresh Chinook) available to the public for $96, which sounds like a screaming deal if you’re into crazy fresh hopped beers at your house — it’s about $1.15 for an 8oz. pour…and you can imagine how much that’d be at the beer bar of your choice.
- Nothing was set at the time we spoke, but I’d expect to see some of the special barrel-aged canned beers at FoBAB this year, since the annual festival is about a week before the can release.