Coffee or beer? A tough call for some, but now they don’t have to choose thanks to something brewed up by a couple of St. Jacobs businesses.
Guy on a Buffalo, a robust coffee porter from the Block Three Brewery, is brewed with fair trade, cold-brew coffee from their neighbours at EcoCafé.
The relationship came to fruition two years prior, shortly after EcoCafé moved into St Jacobs.
“When we first made the beer, we just kind of wanted to do something that kind of collaborated between both of us and we thought the coffee porter was a nice way to go,” explained Graham Spence, one of the Block Three founders.
The porter itself brings forward notes of chocolate and, of course, coffee.
“You get a big hit of coffee and then like chocolate roasted barley flavour profile, as well,” he said, “Porters and stouts are fairly similar, roasted barley – so I mean it’s a very similar process to actually roasting coffee so I think those flavors complement each.”
While the flavours are reminiscent of each business’ products, the name, however, has a bit more of an unorthodox origin: a humorous set of YouTube videos featuring a remake of an old movie with a song by Possum Posse from Austin Texas dubbed over top of it.
Beyond the porter, the neighbours work together to produce the actual cold brew sold at EcoCafé; by using the same method to brew beer, the final product is unique to the café.
“Cold brewing is about 16 hours, 18 hours in water, in cold water – you never heat the coffee,” explained Edward Denyer, owner of EcoCafé. “We were doing it ourselves, but now the other part of the collaboration is that these guys make the cold brew for us. They have got the technology, they have got the kegs for it, they’ve got the vats for it, so we just prep the coffee for it – we send it over they put the water in, let it steep, they drain it off for us and then in the summer we run cold brew on tap in their kegs. So we are different than everyone because most coffee companies run a nitrous, but we ended up doing it on a C02 tap like beer, so it actually carbonates the cold brew.”
Any collaboration with local businesses is a plus for Denyer, creating a community among business owners that provides quality products for those visiting – as the brewery co-founders can attest to.
“It is just a way to bring the community together, and us supporting each other is always good,” said Spence.
“For us, we love being in St. Jacobs. Doing these types of collaborations are really good cross-promotional [activities] because we are able to help another business that has a lot of the same similarities as us in our values, in our craftsmanship – not necessarily trying to be a super high volume moving business, but respecting the craft,” added Derek Lebert, co-founder of the brewery. “These opportunities to work with other businesses in town is really what we are all about.”
And that is apparent in the work they do throughout the other seasons, the collaboration with EcoCafé isn’t their only one locally.
“We have done beer cheese with Gunn’s Hill (Artisan Cheese) and then our other big popular beer is in April. We do Sugar Bush, which is a maple syrup beer and we release it for the Elmira [Maple] Syrup Festival so we are working with local maple syrup producers for that,” explained Lebert.
Coming out irregularly, Guy on a Buffalo can be found only once or twice a year in store or for the time being, on their new online platform.
“We were having a lot of people come here from all over the province and it was very difficult to get our beer after they came and visited, so now they can order online. We can ship it out province-wide,” said Lebert, noting the addition of their office deliveries within Kitchener-Waterloo every Friday afternoon. “And if we do have some of these seasonal releases you can come up online and add the beers available by pre-ordering and it will be there for pickup as well.”
Denyer, chair for the St. Jacobs Business Improvement Area, added the work they are doing to provide easier access and in turn, creating more of a draw for St. Jacobs-based products aligns perfectly with the village’s goals.
“It is something we are looking at, how can we continuously bring people back but also give them a reason to enjoy their stay, and to have a moment and take a break. So that is the beauty of both of these,” he said. “It is great. We are destination-based businesses, so we try to bring people here to the village – it’s about creating experiences.”