Photo by Jay Bayer
And the Achievement in Ingenious Recycling award goes to… Saison! But also to Hardywood, Reservoir and Lamplighter. Though they’re all relative newcomers to the Richmond scene, with Lamplighter clocking in the longest at six years strong, they’re guaranteeing their destinies as indispensable institutions with projects like experimental collaborations. The latest: whiskey barrels from Reservoir made their way over to Hardywood to age beer, and after the beer was dispensed, those same barrels traveled to Saison to impart their flavors to coffee. The finished product? A nitro iced coffee called Chorus Effect. If your mouth’s not already watering, you might want to have it checked.
Jay Bayer, co-owner of Saison and Saison Market, tells the story: “We were sitting around chatting at the market as we normally do, and had the thought that we should take the cold brew concentrate that we get from Lamplighter and allow it to rest in a barrel. It would pick up the whiskey and beer flavors which are already delicious together, and our [coffee on draft] is already kind of like stout as it is now, so we figured this would make sense, too.”
Cue lab coats. After talking to Lamplighter about timing, the Saison team began the process of resting the coffee; Lamplighter’s recommendation had been a short stint in the barrel in order to maximize its “high point” flavor notes, while Jay and company were after something more rounded.
“So to make it a good sum of all the parts that were coming together, we rested it for a few days and tested it along the way," Bayer says. "We knew there would come a finite point where we’d do too much damage, and we wanted to find that sweet spot beforehand. In our opinion, that spot was 10 days.”
And what’s in store for that Reservoir barrel now? It’s going back to Hardywood to age beer. Again. There’s no date set for the beer’s release, but with a whiskey-beer-coffee pedigree, it’s bound to be a good one — and it’s probably going to go just as fast as the coffee has.
Chorus Effect is slated to last only through Sunday or thereabouts, so get yourself to Saison Market this weekend to grab a cup before it's gone.