The first time I encountered coffee in a hoppy beer, it involved – at least to an extent – the main man at Fixation Brewing. Yet the Coffee IPA that then Mountain Goat sales rep Tom Delmont was selling back in 2011 was a far cry from the coffee-laced India brown ale his team have put out under the Freshly Hatched banner as winter 2023 approaches. While the former was all about capturing the fruitier perfume of the beans in an otherwise straight-up American IPA, here the project feels a little closer to the sort of beers to more commonly feature coffee, such as stouts or porters.
Their partners here are North Melbourne-based Small Batch, who delivered some Halo Hartume coffee from Ethiopia to the brewery (or, more precisely, the brew itself) within 90 minutes of it being roasted, where it was set to work alongside roasted malts and Simcoe hops.
Pouring a deep, deep brown (that almost warrants a chorus from East 17), albeit with a ruby tinge, and a crema-coloured head, there's a soft roast coffee aroma with plenty in the way of semi-dark chocolate. The labels talk up citrus too, which for me comes across more as it might when swirled through a slice of brownie than it typically would in a paler IPA. Completing the picture is the texture – full and almost fluffy – making this a most seasonally-appropriate meeting of minds.
- Coffee India Brown Ale