I hate the word bitter. You might even say that I’m bitter about it. Bitterness, to the outside world has a negative connotation, both emotional bitterness such as “cold, bitter tears of regret” or “bitter resentment” and the physical definition of the taste. If I say to you that something is bitter, most people will think that’s a negative quality, and that’s difficult when it is one of the major descriptors used to describe beer flavor characteristics. What compounds this problem is that bitter as a word is so unspecific. Do I mean the bitterness of coffee? Or the bitterness of a great IPA? Or in the case of Bunker Brewing’s 122 Coffee IPA both kinds – and not a negative connotation for miles.
Now, before you spit out your coffee (or beer) when you hear the terms “coffee” and “IPA” in the same beer name, this perhaps isn’t such an insane idea. After all, coffee stouts blend their own roasted bitterness with the sharp coffee notes to great success – why shouldn’t this other bitterness found in strong hops work just as well?