When I first met Yiga Miyashiro and Kim Lutz, they were collaborating on a coffee beer at the former’s former workplace, Pizza Port’s Ocean Beach brewpub. We sat together between the turning of valves in the brewhouse, and I scribbled in my notebook as quickly as I could (many are the times I wish I’d learned shorthand) as they explained the how, why and many details regarding cold extraction of coffee for infusion into beer. I was impressed with their knowhow and passion on the subject, and even more impressed with the finished product, a brown ale brewed with coffee and macadamia nuts.
9550 Distribution Avenue, Miramar
At the time of the aforementioned scene, Lutz headed the Hawaii brewpub at Maui Brewing Company. Now, the two work together at Miramar’s Saint Archer Brewery, Miyashiro as director of brewery operations and Lutz as lead brewer. As hierarchal duos go, however, these two are as equal as they come, with both continually using their individual expertise to collaboratively create an impressive portfolio of beers. When Miyashiro made the move to Saint Archer back in 2013, I hoped his joining forces with Lutz on a long-term basis would lead to another coffee beer. Thankfully, it did.
5627 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla
Though it’s a specialty beer that isn’t always available, Saint Archer Coffee Brown Ale is a masterful brew that, rather than blow one away with an over-the-top burst of java, lets the variety of flavors from coffee procured from local business, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, shine through en masse. All at once, roastiness, dark berry fruitiness and a light touch of chicory-like spice come through against a nutty brown ale base. It’s highly drinkable and dialed in at an ideally sessionable 6% alcohol-by-volume. Many would call it a perfect “breakfast beer,” and sure, I’d prefer it to my daily cup of Joe, but to me, it’s a splendid anytime beer.