Let's take a look back at AltBrau's first collaboration from April 2013...
New Helvetia Brewing Co. was fairly new to the NorCal area when we approached them to do a beer with us. Their head brewer Brian Cofresi, however, was a veteran of the local beer scene. He had been brewing nearby at River City Brewing Co. for many years and it was there that he agreed to bring on an intern. That intern was Tim Decker, creator of AltBrau.
During his time at RCBC, Tim would work with fellow intern Josh Meltzer and get to know David Gull, a friend of Brian. It was Dave and Brian who would go on to start New Helvetia and Josh would soon join them as assistant brewer. About a year after they started up, we approached them with our idea of a special release stout. Everyone at NHBC were happy to collaborate on a beer and continue to be supportive of AltBrau.
For the release we took NHBC's house stout recipe and jazzed it up with local coffee from Old Soul Co. and an addition of Thai chili peppers from the fine folks at Bounkhong Farms in Sanger, CA. We named the beer after Southisack "Joe" Phavorachith, the co-owner of the farm and longtime friend of everyone at AltBrau.
We only created one 1/6bbl keg for release and it was only around for a day and a half. The chili notes were balanced against the malty sweetness of the stout base. The roasted grains complimented the coffee very well. Our friends and the customers at NHBC were very happy with the release and very sad when it was gone.
Donations from this beer were made to the Whole Planet Foundation, providing micro-loans to small businesses all over the world.
Dave and Brian continue to grow New Helvetia and were recently awarded gold medals at the Great American Beer Fest for their Thurston Adambier (Historical Beer Category 2014) and their "Mystery Airship": Imperial Chocolate Porter (Experimental Beer Category 2015).
Josh Meltzer has gone on to become assistant brewer at Fieldwork Brewing in Berkeley, CA.