Beer Review #69 — Oskar Blues Hotbox Coffee IPA

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Oxymorons. What are some that you know well? Cruel kindness, disgustingly delicious,  busy doing nothing. There are a few out there, but how about this one, coffee IPA. Two seemingly contradictory terms colliding in one unassuming can.

Hotbox Coffee IPA comes to us courtesy of Longmont, Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery. You may be familiar with their Hotbox Coffee Porter, their Irish Porter brewed with coffee from Hotbox Roasters, which just so happens to roast their coffee inside Oskar Blues space. Talk about teamwork as the two got together again to make a lighter inverse to their popular porter.

Where the Porter’s coffee addition focuses on the roast, cocoa, and sweet notes, the IPA’s coffee additions aim to highlight the subtle fruitiness and lighter tones that one can find in a lighter roast coffee. Just how will the pair with bitter and earthy hops? Let’s find out.

Beer — Hotbox Coffee IPA

Brewery — Oskar Blues (Longmont, CO)

ABV | IBU — 7.2% | 70

Price — $2.99 (12 oz Can) @ Elizabeth Station

Availability — Limited (Seasonal)

Appearance (2 | 3) — A clear bright golden hue into the glass. Some orange / copper hues as well. A thin white head forms, but recedes and leaves some consistent lacing behind with each sip.

Aroma (7 | 10) — A conundrum of sorts. Notes of fresh roasted coffee play against earthy and piney Simcoe hops. Some nicely sweet caramel malt character as well, with hints of toffee and caramel.

Flavor (14 | 20) — Starts with great green hop character. Earthy notes of pine, lemon and berries, balanced against a roasted cocoa and coffee character. All on top of a caramel sweet base that just somehow works together. The flavors are all restrained with nothing overpowering, thankfully.

Mouthfeel (4 | 5) — Crisp, clean, refreshing. No distracting residual sweetness, just a nice balance and finish.

Overall (6 | 10) — A nice change of pace, a greatly balanced beer with notes of pine, berries, and coffee. An oxymoron for sure. Kudos for the offering, but I think most will still prefer the Hotbox Porter, which is a masterpiece. Still worth a try if you see it, unique.

OVERALL — 33 | 50 — VERY GOOD

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