When I was first offered this beer by John over at Ravens Brewing Company, I thought, “A coffee IPA? I haven’t had one of those. Ever.” I have a good friend who happens to have IPA’s and high IBU’s running through her veins, and she said she bet it would be FANTASTIC. I’ve admitted it before that I’m not super wild about the bitterness of most IPA’s but I do appreciate the big juiciness that is often present. Ravens brewed this in collaboration with Old Hand Coffee.So with that in mind, and my “I’ll try anything” attitude, I put the beer in the fridge and waited until the right time.
The right time came the other night and I pulled the beer out of the fridge and poured out it’s gorgeous deep golden goodness into a glass. It was COLD. My fridge has a mind of it’s own and often does whatever it wants; one sip told me to let it warm up…I decided to drink it at about 9 degrees C. Any colder and it numbed out the flavor and increased the bitterness. Temperature DOES matter and frosty glasses here are not our friends.
I decided, because this beer was out of my comfort zone, to taste it eyes closed.Haven’t tried that? Do it. Of course it’s better with friends to taste blind and get all the reactions, but hey…was just me.
First sip at the new temp was decidedly better. I got the tropical hop punch of the Galaxy & Amarillo hops but it mellowed out at the back of my tongue. I was quite surprised. Perhaps it was the presence of the coffee that lent that caramel, easiness to the beer. Sometimes I can feel assaulted by an IPA- it’s just too bold & too big at once. This beer had that big presence but it also had a lingering smoothness at the end of each drink. As many of us know, coffee can quickly over power a beer which is why it tends to go nicely with the deep roasted tastes of stouts and porters. In this case, I believe it married really well with the hops and smoothed them out. I opted to drink this quite slowly and amazed at the depth of flavor as it warmed up in the glass.
Overall it’s a bright IPA with a fruity mellow hit. Well done.
Ravens Brewing Company & Old Hand Coffee IPA comes in at 6% and 70 IBU’s.