It’s back! Our beloved Mudhouse Stout returns to taps at Brew. Co. today, and because this brew has been part of our lineup since 2002 (We can’t believe it’s been 13 years since we kegged our first batch!), we decided to look back at how this brew came to be.
It all started a long time ago, in a far away place… Well, not quite. The Mudhouse Stout actually got its start thanks to our resident brewmaster, Ashton Lewis, and because no one geeks out on beer quite as much as Ashton does, we decided to let him share the story.
What was the inspiration for this brew?
Ashton: Coffee and stout naturally pair as some of the roasted grains used in stout have coffee-like flavors. On top of the obvious link, I really love coffee and wanted to do a collaboration with the Mudhouse since they opened just one year after SBC, and both of our businesses were part of the downtown redevelopment push at the time.
So what, you just brewed coffee and mixed it in?
Ashton: Coffee was brewed one pot at a time at the Mudhouse and transferred to a keg until we had 15 gallons of coffee. We then wheeled the hot keg back to the brewery and blended it with our beer.
What was the flavor profile you were going for?
Ashton: I was looking for lots of coffee aroma and flavor from earthy, low-acidity beans. The first batch was made using highly roasted Sumatra Mandheling beans. The finished beer was very well-received, and we have continued with the same basic process for the last 13 years. One thing that we have in our Mudhouse Stout is hop aroma. Many breweries downplay hops in coffee stouts, but I think a bit of piney character from Cascade hops complements the earthiness of the coffee.
What was the trial and error process like? Please tell us you had to drink a ton of coffee to find the right flavor!
Ashton: We made several batches back in the brewery to come up with the blend we were seeking. There is no right way to go about developing new beers. My approach has always been to trust our team. We need to like what we are brewing because our beer is a reflection of who we are as brewers.
How much do you brew each year?
Ashton: This beer is brewed as one of our “Black Sheep” beers. This handle rotates so we always have one very dark or black beer on tap, and up until last year, we only brewed one batch per year. Luckily for beer-fans who love this brew, we are now selling Mudhouse Stout in bottles through our distribution channels and our production volume is increasing.
Releasing a non-pumpkin beer in the fall. Are you crazy?
Ashton: Yes! But no, it’s all about the flavor profile. Some beers really seem to be better suited to certain seasons of the year than others. Cooler weather and robust beers work well in the fall, so we release our Mudhouse to complement fall and early winter.