Back in 2013, before the time of pour over coffee and juice bomb IPAs, Bent Paddle Brewing made the bold decision to combine its black ale with Crazy Juice cold press coffee from Duluth Coffee Company. In doing so, it hit upon something timeless. Five years from now, when the memories of all of these beverage trends have faded away, Cold Press Black Ale will remain a perfectly dynamic melding of coffee and beer.
Cold Press Black Ale is more brown than your average black ale, looking more like a malted shake than Coca Cola. A dense mocha foam develops over the top and forms chocolatey rungs along the glass as it disappears. There’s very little carbonation lifting that beige cloud. Even before you take a sip, you can tell this beer’s going down like liquid velvet.
You don’t need to choose between another cup of coffee or the first beer of the night. Cold Press Black Ale makes the decision for you.”
The two-row malt in this beer has a roasty scent that’s enhanced by the addition of cold press coffee. The toast-like aromas of the malt plays nicely off the intense bitterness of the coffee, combining to create sweet notes of toffee. Willamette and CTZ hop flavors stay mostly out of the way—only a gratuitously deep inhale results in the sharp, spicy notes that both hop varieties usually bring.
You’d be forgiven for reaching for the half and half after your first sip. Cold Press Black Ale is acidic, tasting a bit more like cold press concentrate than brewed coffee. But there’s also a lot of decadence in the beer. Chocolate, caramel and butterscotch come in opulent gushes. The body isn’t as thick as the appearance might indicate, which means that multiple sips won’t bog you down.
Coffee and beer have been combined in countless forms and proportions over time, but never has one so obviously enriched the other. The searing bitterness of the cold press is underpinned by the sweet roast of the malt. The crisp bite of the beer is smoothed and thickened by the coffee. Finally, you don’t need to choose between another cup of coffee or the first beer of the night. Cold Press Black Ale makes the decision for you.