Saturday, April 6, 2013

Aleman/Two Brothers/Stone Dayman Coffee IPA - Review

I'm on an IPA run of late and the latest new one I tried was the Dayman Coffee IPA, a collaboration between Aleman/Two Brothers/Stone. Stone, of course, is the heavy hitter of the group, known worldwide for their uber-hoppy beers, bold takes on various other beer styles, and their propagation of San Diego IPA's to a world stage. Two Brothers hails from suburban Chicago in Warrenville, IL and is known for their Heavy Handed IPA, a competent, dense, malty take on a midwest IPA.  Aleman is one of the latest in the onslaught of new Chicago breweries but I know nothing about them yet.  I was told by a friend at a liquor store that the Dayman was a hit, "the beer of the year so far."  It gets a 93 at BeerAdvocate, which is "exceptional".  You can't find a bomber of it anywhere, but I happened upon a draught at Jerry's Sandwiches; I was there for a friend's birthday but when I saw this on tap it was also my birthday.  I love coffee, coffee-flavored beers, and, of course, hoppy beers. This beer needed a lot of mojo to withstand the hype.

I would rate this as a solid beer but not worthy of a trip across town.  It presents itself well.  Mine was served in a tall tulip glass, the kind with an elegant hourglass curve in the middle.  Ahem.  The color is a brownish-amber with maybe a bit of redness.  It smells strongly enough of coffee, citrus and pine.  At first sip, you get a lot of pine cones and some juicy mango hops. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy, akin to Stone's Enjoy-By series but to an even greater extent.  I catch a bit of Heavy Handed IPA's density in this one.  Strong coffee flavor gradually builds up at the back of the tongue but is never overwhelming.  Coffee is not nearly as strong in this as it is in Dark Horse Perkulator or in numerous coffee stouts and porters, or in - drool - Founders' one-off, Sumatra Brown.  But the coffee and hops interplay is impressive, which explains a lot of this beer's acclaim.  At day's end, no new dimension or beer concept has been achieved here.  It's just another really good IPA bearing Stone's signature hop infusion stamp, and it happens to be coffee-flavored.  Enjoy this, hop lovers, but don't go trading your best barrel-aged beer for it. I'd give this a B-plus score (86 out of 100 as noted in the scale below), and would absolutely have it again, even in lieu of less-scarce beers that I like more, such as Double Jack.

4.3 of 5 stars.

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