Rogue Ales | Cold Brew IPA
Coffee and beer is hardly a revolutionary coupling. As is the case with most hackneyed combinations, however, there’s a reason these two are so often paired together — albeit usually in the context of a stout or porter, whose malty flavors and thick, creamy mouthfeel play well with the roasted bitterness of coffee beans.
Rogue Ales’ Cold Brew IPA aims to do something different, even in the less-common realm of coffee-infused IPAs and pale ales. The can boasts of a “hop punch,” an intriguing claim given the array of coffee beers I’ve had over the years, most of which treat hoppiness as an afterthought. Thanks to a generous hop mix that includes Liberty, Rebel, Freedom and Simcoe, the Newport, Oregon-based brewery manages to deliver.
The Cold Brew IPA pours a clear, mahogany color, with solid head retention that reduces to a thinner, creamy film after a few minutes. At first, the aroma was that of a traditional IPA with some roasty, nutty flavors on the back end. But on subsequent sniffs, it smelled more like pure cold press coffee — Rogue uses 200 gallons of cold brew from Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters in each batch — though not in an overpowering way.
Not surprisingly, the beer was more carbonated than its dark brethren, giving it a crisp bite that works well with the piney, resinous flavors of the hops. At first I was concerned that the coffee flavors might be lost since I’m used to the overwhelming espresso aromas of most coffee-infused beers, but Rogue really achieves balance with this beer. After an initial hoppy bite, the coffee flavors lingered on my tongue, rounded out by ever-so-subtle hints of herbal, almost tea-like flavors.
The beer drinks easily and despite a healthy ABV of 7.5 percent, didn’t come off as boozy. I approached the Cold Brew IPA with the presumption it would be one of those beers you can only drink one of at a time, but I certainly wished I had another by the time it was gone. The caffeine-powered energy boost was a welcomed side effect (not that I have any experience drinking beer during the work day while still needing to maintain focus, of course).