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Beer...Your Favorite Breakfast Beverage?

Last week, Ore Dock Brewing Co tapped their Java Stout, Black Swan, using one of Keweenaw Coffee Work's customer favorites, Borealis.  We had some time to catch up with Andrea Pernsteiner, Owner and Co-Founder, as well as Nick VanCourt, Owner and Brewmaster, to ask them a few questions about their brewing process.

KCW: How long does it take to make a batch of really tasty Java Stout?

Nick: Well, the actual brew day part of making a Java Stout is like any stout brew day.  It takes about 8 hours to prep the tank, mill the malts, and then do the whole brewhouse process of mashing, lautering, boiling, chilling the wort and adding the yeast.  From there, in our case, the beer ferments actively for four days, then has a day at fermentation temp for the yeast to clean their plates and start dropping to the bottom.  Once that process is complete, the beer gets crash cooled to 33F and the sediment is allowed to clear for about 10 days. 

KCW: When is the beer infused with coffee, and for how long?

Nick: The day before we transfer the Stout from the fermenter to the serving tank we prepare a cold Toddy® to extract the coffee.  This concentrate is made with 10lb of Borealis and 10 gallons of filtered water at 38F and steeped overnight.  The next day we infuse the stout with the coffee in the serving tank and make sure that it gets mixed fairly uniformly into the stout.

KCW: What type of food would you pair with a Java Stout ? Is it a breakfast beer?

Nick: I think it would be great with any breakfast food!  I also think that the Black Swan will work great with desserts of just about any kind, especially Creme Brûlée.  At dinnertime, I would probably pair it with robust beef dishes that can stand up to a beer with roasty intensity, such as beef wellington, carbonade flamande or beef bourguignon, especially if these dishes were prepared with the stout itself.  I think it would also fair well with rich duck dishes or even steak fries with a t-bone or prime rib.

KCW: How long will the beer be available and where can we find it?

Nick: It should be available through February, or maybe a little past February in our taproom on Spring Street in Marquette.  A growler is a great way to share this one.

KCW: Tell us more about your study hall and coffee program?

Andrea: ”Study Hall" is something we started early last year as a way to open our upstairs community space for the public's use during the day when that space might not otherwise be open.  Although we do not staff the upstairs bar during this time, we encourage patrons to purchase beer, soda, or steamy cup of KCW coffee downstairs and find a cozy nook upstairs to study, read, write, meet with a study or work group, or simply enjoy the space during the quieter day-time hours.  Our coffee program is simple, providing quality, locally roasted coffee for our patrons who are looking for an alternative to beer or just really love great coffee.  

KCW: What’s your favorite KCW coffee and how do you brew it?

Andrea: I can't speak for everyone on the Ore Dock team, but my favorite is the Borealis.  Although we don't brew it regularly, it quickly became a staff favorite when we brewed it for the final weekend of Jeremy Rowe's photography exhibit in the Community Space.  It was also why we were all so excited to hear it had been chosen for this year's Black Swan Java Stout.

KCW: Tell us one random fact about Ore Dock that we might not know?

Andrea: There has been a new baby born to a member of the Ore Dock family every year since we opened (August Pernsteiner in 2012, Ruby VanCourt in 2013, Tess Pernsteiner in 2014, and Arlo Rea in 2015).  We sometimes joke there must be something in the "water" ;-)  With that said, still no word on whether there will be a 2016 addition.

KCW: When did you start brewing beer and what is your favorite Ore Dock Brew?

Nick: I started brewing beer at home in 2005.  In 2008, I turned my hobby into a career by going back to school and then working in breweries in Southeast Wisconsin before coming back to Marquette for Ore Dock.  

Andrea: We started brewing beer at Ore Dock in early 2012, opening our doors Memorial Day weekend of that year.  It is pretty hard to pick a favorite, as I'm sure you would have trouble deciding on your favorite roast, but I love our seasonal Saison varieties and Reclamation IPA is near and dear to my heart because I think it is such a wonderfully balanced IPA and the name reminds me of all we did to reclaim our old downtown building and create the tap room and community space that it is today.

KCW: Any fun upcoming events at the Ore Dock we should know about?

Andrea: We are proud to be the beer sponsors at the Michigan Ice Fest being held in Munising this coming week/weekend.  It is a great celebration of the incredible outdoor experiences that can be had in the Upper Peninsula.  What a unique and great place we live!

Thanks to Andrea and Nick, for taking some time to spill the beans!  We really enjoyed getting a "behind the scenes" peak at the hoppy, malty, barley goodness that you folks put together. 

For more information about Ore Dock Brewing Co, their java stout, Black Swan, as well as their coffee and study hall program, please visit them at as well as on Facebook and Instagram.  You can also stop by in person at 114 Spring Street in Marquette, MI and pick up a growler of the Black Swan before this lovely, rich stout is gone.  We already grabbed ours!  Yum!

*Photos courtesy Ore Dock Brewing Co
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