I’D TAP THAT: Caffeinated hops

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First Posted: 1/21/2014

Beer: Blasting Cap Coffee IPA

Brewer: Breaker Brewing Company

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.50%

Description: Blasting Cap IPA pours a slightly hazy, burnt amber color, but is still clear enough to see through with a rocky white head that lingers for some time when poured aggressively. The aroma is dominated by coffee up front, but if you let your nose linger, you will get past that and pick up the beautiful hop backbone with notes of tropical fruits, lemon, and grapefruit. The taste, again, is dominated by coffee bitterness up front that seems to smooth out quickly and coat the palate before the hops rush through and leave hints of mango, grapefruit, and lemon on the palate. A sweet malt taste brings an added layer of complexity and leads to the long, dry finish. The coffee flavor sits on the palate, though not in an unpleasant manner, and the medium body and moderate carbonation combine to create a beer that is both unique and extremely enjoyable.

Food pairing: Food pairing for this beer is a true delight. Trying to find dishes that can blend with both the coffee and hops makes one think more closely about what dish to combine with this brew. As far as main courses, fatty meats are your best bet; think fatty pork barbecue or braised pork belly. Another great dish is bacon-wrapped meatloaf; the salty and fatty meat cut through the IPA while the coffee enhances the flavoring. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, try pairing Coffee IPA with an espresso-rubbed filet mignon, but be ready for a big burst of caffeine to the system! Also, as you may have guessed, this beer would be great with desserts, especially those with a bitter chocolate base. I would highly recommend either a nice tiramisu or dark chocolate-dipped strawberries; I highly recommend getting some fresh from Gertrude Hawk.

The final word: Breaker Brewing continuously proves that they are not afraid to experiment, and even more importantly, experiment successfully! Its unique take on the beloved IPA style adds a distinct and delicious bitterness that both enhances the hop bite and subdues it. The coffee is top-notch and is certainly showcased here. While the coffee may come through a bit too much for some, it does not detract from the wonderful IPA base one bit. However, be warned, as drinking this IPA is almost equivalent to a shot of espresso with the caffeine jolt your body will experience; I’m not complaining one bit about that, though!

Rating: W W W W

Where can I get it? Available exclusively at the Breaker Brewing Company tap room, located at 787 E. Northampton St., Wilkes-Barre. The hours of operation are Tuesday and Friday, 5-9 p.m., and Saturday, noon-5 p.m.

Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!

-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m.