A Wappingers Brewery and Waffle Café Craft the Chocolate Stout Beer of Your Dreams
Cousins Ale and Sweetbakes Café used more than 200 homemade waffles in their new chocolate waffle brew.
Photos provided by Aaron Browne
Oh Hudson Valley beer, how we love thee. We could wax rhapsodic about the merits of the craft breweries, locally sourced grain, and highly anticipated label drops that keep the local beer-loving scene buzzing. This time around, however, we’re cutting straight to the boozy chase and shining the spotlight on the hoppy happenings in Wappingers Falls.
Coming this March, two of your favorite Dutchess County food and drink destinations will bring an epic new beer to the Hudson Valley. Of course, it’s not just any beer. Cousins Ale Works and Sweetbakes Café would never stoop to the level of a #basic brew. Instead, Aaron Browne and Chris Dorn of the Revolutionary-themed brewery combined creative forces with waffle-centric couple Jenny and Bobby Jordan to create their hybrid chocolate waffle stout.
“It actually started before Sweetbakes even opened,” Browne admits of the beer’s creative origins. He met Jenny at The Ugly Mug in Poughkeepsie, where he had stopped by to discuss another Cousins collaboration, The Ugly Mug Coffee Stout. He and Jenny stayed in touch and eventually became friends who regularly partner on comedy nights at Cousins. Yet all the while, the idea of a collaboration never strayed from their minds.
Fast-forward to 2018, after Sweetbakes opened. Jenny, who has quite the local reputation for her custom cakes, originally wanted to do a cake-themed beer. Once she and Bobby built up a reputation for their “Wacky Waffles,” however, the group switched gears and opted for a chocolate waffle flavor instead.
“We did a whole bunch of taste testing, which was fun,” Browne says.
After perfecting the batter, Jenny and Bobby got to work creating the 100 pounds of waffles needed for the limited-edition batter. With five waffle irons and five and a half hours, they whipped up a whopping 200 6-oz waffles for the beer.
Jenny stands next to her completed chocolate waffles.
Waffles completed, “the brewing process was all on me,” Browne notes. With Bobby’s help, Browne began work on his custom chocolate waffle stout. Notably, he designed the base of the stout to play upon the brew’s natural coffee flavors instead of its chocolate ones.
“I didn’t want the beer to be chocolatey,” he reveals. “I wanted to showcase the notes of the chocolate in the waffle itself.”
To do so, he extended his brewing day to accommodate the larger production scale and nuanced flavor. Using 100-percent New York ingredients (95-percent of which are from the Hudson Valley), two mashing stages and a three-and-a-half-hour boil period, Browne perfected the essence of the rich chocolate brew.
As a finishing touch, he added 33 pounds of lactose on top to boost sweetness, then left the product to rest in the fermenter, where it will turn into alcohol. In total, the brewing process took about seventeen hours and will produce an estimated 120 gallons upon completion.
Aaron Browne (left) and Bobby Jordan (right) brew the stout.
Once the fermentation period concludes, Browne and the Sweetbakes team plan to release the finished product in conjunction with the Wappingers Falls St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 2. During the parade, the beer will be available at Sweetbakes for passersby who need a refresher on the jaunt through the village. Afterward, locals are invited to attend the release party at Cousins, which is located on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls. Browne will can about 15 gallons for sale and keg the rest of it. He also plans to age part of it in a bourbon barrel for a later release in 2020.
Of course, Browne and Sweetbakes still have a major hurdle to overcome before the limited-edition drop in March. Even though they’ve all but completed the beer’s production, they have yet to come up with a name.
Luckily, you can help! Send a message to Cousins Ale Works on Facebook or comment on this article with your creative label for the chocolate waffle-themed stout. You never know! Your idea just may be the winning pick for the brew’s March debut.
Will you try the new Cousins Ale beer? Let us know what you think of the local collaboration in the comments or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.