Once a fairly niche phenomenon, coffee-infused craft beer is now relatively mainstream. The popularity of, say, coffee stout is perhaps due to a broad crossover between beer nerds and coffee drinkers, or it could be attributed to the similar roasting processes of coffee and malt. Whatever the case, some envelope-pushing brewers are looking beyond coffee to everybody’s other favorite source of caffeine and/or palate-warming: tea, the most widely consumed drink in the world after water.
Tim Lange, lead brewer at Chicago’s Marz Community Brewing, and his team are one such group. When the organization started in 2014, it was a group of home-brewing friends spitballing recipes they’d conceived. One of them, Eli Espinoza, shared a wheat ale he had made with a blend of teas, which was particularly well-received by the founding team, so they set out to scale it up for commercial production.