For this installment of Tasting Notes, we kick off another week of social distancing by multitasking our two favorite beverages – beer and coffee – thanks to a pour of 1966 Coffee IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery (San Leandro, California) and Peet’s Coffee (Berkeley, California).
Brewed to recognize the year when “Alfred Peet opened his coffeebar at the corner of Walnut and Vine in Berkeley and changed the way Americans, and the world, thought about coffee,” 1966 Coffee IPA (6.8% ABV) is a West Coast-style India Pale Ale featuring “aromas of fruity blueberries and bright citrus notes from Columbus, Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial hops.” To cover the coffee side of this IPA, Ethiopian Super Natural Coffee from Peet’s Coffee was “incorporated several ways in the brew, including ‘dry-hopping’ with whole beans,” to provide “[accents] of rich coffee . . . balanced with malt structure and defined bitterness all giving this West Coast IPA a phenomenal flavor profile.”
1966 Coffee IPA debuted back in late January of this year and the brewery’s Beer Finder indicates that there is still a good amount of this brew floating around out there. You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Florida, California and throughout the rest of 21st Amendment’s 28 state distribution footprint.
Alright . . . now that we know why and how coffee came to meet up with this IPA, let’s see how it all comes together in a glass over some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for 1966 Coffee IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery & Peet’s Coffee
Appearance: A quick but careful pour – one you would expect from a somewhat caffeine-starved human being who has been spending way too much time indoors – produces a beer that is a deep golden yellow in color and capped with almost two fingers of frothy white foam. When held to direct light, the golden tones hold and shine brightly. This IPA is clear and shows off a casual carbonation presence bubbling away within. Head retention is quite nice, falling slowly to a complete top cap that leaves the glass covered in sheets of lace.
Aroma: Up front, the nose bursts with IPA goodness as the hops unleash incredibly fragrant notes of citrusy grapefruit, lime and orange alongside some soft floral tones. The coffee complements the hops with a little added fruitiness that resembles mixed berries. A gentle malt presence rounds everything out with a bit of honey and wheat.
Taste: Almost a mirror of the nose, the flavor profile opens with juicy, citrusy hop notes of orange and grapefruit. The added coffee supplies a balancing earthiness and a fruity pop of blueberry. Bitterness is subdued (just a touch of grapefruit zest and pine in here supplying some bite) and that is thanks to a gentle, closing layer of honey and caramel coming off the malts.
Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this IPA is incredibly easy-drinking and dries out beautifully. The balance is impeccable by being not too hoppy/bitter and not too sweet. The 6.8% ABV is surprisingly non-existent, further elevating the beer’s overall high level of drinkability. The aftertaste is all citrusy hops.
Final Thoughts: For those folks out there who have been on the fence about the idea of trying a “Coffee IPA,” 21st Amendment’s 1966 Coffee IPA is the one example you need to seek out. The chosen beans from Peet’s Coffee meld perfectly with the hop bill to strike a gorgeously balanced experience that unites the worlds of coffee and beer in a cohesive way that just makes sense. Hopheads will be happy to know that this is an IPA first as the hops shine brightly and boldly, but the coffee takes things a step further by complementing, accentuating and mimicking hop aromas and flavors with added floral, fruity and earthy notes. The overall idea of coffee being an ingredient in this IPA is subtle, but its impact on the hops is powerful as it elevates the entire sensory profile with wonderfully placed layers of complexity. If you are at all a fan of IPAs, do not let the word “coffee” in the name throw you. Get yourself a 6-pack of 1966 Coffee IPA while you still can and see for yourself the amazing things that the right coffee can do with your beloved hops. Prost!