As the popularity of craft beer has grown so has the rise in beer pairings. The most common is food and beer, from fancy multi-course beer dinners to pairings of beer with Halloween candy. While food is an obvious choice there are also beer pairings to go with the seasons, specific weather, special events or experiences, and even exercise. A big one is pairing beer with music, I might have even written about my favorite music/local beer pairings ONCE or TWICE. Local artist DJ Knife is a big fan of craft beer, and has teamed up with local breweries for the Strange Brew series, where each unique beer release is paired with a curated selection of music. The first few beers in the Strange Brew series were brewed at Down the Road Brewing, but with that brewery’s demise the series has moved to fellow north shore stalwart Bent Water Brewing. The newest release in the series is Strange Brew 7, an IPA brewed with coffee, which is certainly an interesting combination. When you buy the beer at Bent Water you can also get the mix tape on mini-disc, a true throwback (you can also stream the mix on DJKnife.com). Bent Water/DJ Knife Strange Brew #7 is available for a limited time on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Bent Water/DJ Knife Strange Brew 7 pours hazy light orange with a solid white head. The aroma is a mix of fruity hops and a noticeable hit of coffee. The hops lead the flavor, notes of grapefruit, mango and lemon-lime along with a very mild bitterness, this is very much a NEIPA. The coffee is well represented as well, roasty and smooth. A sturdy malt backbone rounds out the flavor with hints of bread crust and crackers. Strange Brew 7 is medium-bodied, easy drinking and not overly boozy at 6.5% ABV. The finish is crisp with an extra jolt of coffee flavor at the end. While I enjoy many coffee infused porters and stouts, I was unsure about the addition of coffee to an IPA, it seems like a strange mix (fitting considering the name of the beer). It is a strange combo, but I enjoyed the beer much more than I thought I would. If you like IPAs and you like coffee you should definitely give this beer a try. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
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