Grinding Away

Grinding Away

Two brewers walk into a bar. Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened.

Christopher Vetter, brewer and founder of Sail Away Coffee Co. first stopped by the Barrage Brewing tasting room to enjoy a beer flight. He started Sail Away just a year ago, offering cold brew coffee and small-batch roasted beans at farmers markets across Long Island, and was curious about this other small business right around the corner. “I had come across Barrage online and heard about this local brewery right by me where I work. I decided to visit one day, and it was totally unexpected.”

Fortuitously, Steve Pominski, owner and brewmaster of Barrage Brewing was on-site that day, and Christopher, impressed by what he just sampled, struck up a conversation. Chris says, “I had the idea prior, almost to the inception of [Sail Away Coffee], that I would love to use my cold brew and infuse it in beer. I would love a beer to come to life that had all the traits of my cold brew—smooth, non-astringent…” Two weeks after that tasting room visit, an opportunity presented itself.

Photo © Sail Away Coffee Co. Instagram

Photo courtesy of Sail Away Coffee Co. on Instagram

Chris continues, “We got invited to do the NYC Craft Beer Festival as a cold brew vendor. This would be a great idea to approach Steve and invite him along. The next day I walked in there and asked him if he would be into it.” Chris brought samples of his cold brew coffee for Steve to try, and, after a few tastings, a collaboration beer was born. The final product, CMP, a 6.5% ABV. coffee milk porter, is made with a concentrate of Sail Away‘s cold brew coffee.

Steve says of CMP, “I want the porter to mimic a coffee with sugar. It will have that traditional porter, coffee look, using a cold coffee extract that Sail Away will be producing and adding lactose to make it a little sweet.”

barrage Working with coffee is nothing new for Barrage, having experience with brewing coffee in its Famous Last Words Russian Imperial stout and Sweet Louis Coffee Hazelnut cream stout. Steve is ready to take on the challenge of replicating Sail Away‘s unique cold brew into a beer. “In some of the better coffee stouts and porters, the brewers actually cold steep their beans before they actually put them in the beer, so it’s not at all unfamiliar. …it’s kind of funny that brewers have been doing it for awhile. So coffee shops and brewers were doing it side by side and now they are crossing paths.”

The pairing at the NYC Craft Beer Festival would have been a rare chance for beer drinkers to sample the cold brew coffee and the CMP beer at the same time. Steve said, “We are going to be side by side at the beer festival in Manhattan. People are [going to] drink his coffee and then be able to drink my beer… I want people to say ‘Hey, this tastes like I’m drinking coffee, but it’s a beer!'”

Alas, it was not to be. Due to last minute changes in venue and dates, Barrage Brewing was unable to pour at the festival. Do not despair for CMP, the coffee milk porter, will debut this month at the Barrage Brewing tasting room in Farmingdale, New York, and at select restaurants and bars across Long Island.

Barrage Brewing is located at 32 Allen Blvd, East Farmingdale, New York. Sail Away Coffee Co. can be found at farmers markets across Long Island. Visit or Facebook for up to date information.