Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Dayman in the Life

Dayman by Stone/Two Brothers/Aleman
Dayman really shouldn't be a tasty beer. It has no right to be.

Coffee stout? Bring it on. Coffee porter? No problem. In fact, the very first World Beer Cup Gold Medal  beer I ever sipped was an Espresso Stout by Thunderhead Brewing. Dark beers and coffee go hand-in-hand.

But a coffee IPA? Now you're just messing with us. Citra, Cascade, and coffee? There's no way those flavors can balance out. Right?

At least, that was the first thought I had when I heard about this beer a few months ago. But the more I read about Dayman Coffee IPA building up to its release this week, the more I wanted to believe. I decided to take advantage of a unique situation; the pre-release party for Dayman being held only a few miles from home.

I pulled up to Two Brothers Tap House in Warrenville a few minutes prior to the 1pm start time for the day's events. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. With Stone's own Greg Koch in town for the event and a chance to meet all of the brewers involved, I thought there could be quite a crowd. Instead, I found the tap house busy, but not overrun. I ended up grabbing a table, meeting up with a few new friends, and waiting for the festivities to begin.

Straight from the Tap
Right at 1:00pm, the front desk began selling bottles of Dayman while drafts began flowing at the bar. I jumped in line to grab my two-bottle limit while I could, but ended up missing the only scheduled brewery tour as a result. Luckily, this situation remedied itself later. In the meantime, there was Dayman to taste.

For those who don't know, Dayman is a collaboration by Stone Brewing Company, Two Brothers Brewing Company and Aleman, a brewing coalition and future Chicago brewpub. Aleman won first place in the Iron Brew competition last year with their coffee IPA recipe, earning them the privilege to take their recipe into production with the two legendary breweries.

The result is something truly unique. While most coffee stouts and porters pour thick and black, Dayman fills the glass with a rich amber and light head. But don't let its color fool you. The coffee is first and foremost in this brew, upfront and powerful, lending its roasted flavors across the entire sip from start to finish. The hops slide somewhere in between, reminding you that this is an IPA, but never muddling or confusing the tongue.

After a couple of glasses of Dayman, the brewers arrived, including Greg Koch of Stone, Jim and Jason Ebel of Two Brothers, and Nate Albrecht, Brad Zeller, and Jim Moorehouse of Aleman. From there, the pre-release party truly got underway, with a quick speech by Greg, bottle signings, some swag for the guests, and eventually a private tour for our group. You can read more about the party and our adventures over on blah…blah...BEER.

Stone Brewing Company's Greg Koch with fans @beerchick14 and @beernick.
As the party wrapped up and our group trickled out along with the a large portion of the crowd, I couldn't help but feel like this event was something special. It was small and intimate, fairly subdued, and very personal. The brewers all took the time to talk to everyone and answered each and every question posed to them. And our personal tour was the icing on the cake.
Jason and Jim Ebel of Two Brothers Brewing Company

But you could also tell this party was just the beginning. A week full of events lay before these guys, from the full-fledged release party at Hopleaf on Monday to several events around the city throughout this week, Dayman's release was no one-day affair. No, one single party could never contain the Dayman, or the brewers who came together to create such an interesting beer.

The Aleman Crew...Luckiest Brewers in Chicagoland?

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