My son’s baseball season ended suddenly and unfortunately last night with a loss in the first round of the tournament. So, we have nothing going on today except for cleaning the house. At lunch, I decided to grab a beer from the beer fridge, and I’ve been trying to make my way through the IPAs as quickly as possible. I picked this one up on one of my many work trips to Chicago. Also, I thought I’d try out my new TEKU glass that is supposed to be ideal for sampling beers. The bottle says it “is a sessionable black IPA containing Galaxy, Citra, Simcoe and Cascade hops. A collaboration between Dryhop Brewers and Begyle Brewing, the aroma is amplified by a massive dry hop!” It also says it is Batch #43.
Location: Poured from the 22oz bomber into a TEKU glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 5.4% ABV, ~150 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s very black in color, with only a few highlights showing when held up to the light. It appears to have quite a bit of carbonation in it, giving it a huge creamy tan head with great retention and lacing. The aroma is a mix of lightly roasty maltiness and earthy hops.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with a bit of creaminess. The flavor up front is a roasty sweetness with hints of dark chocolate. The roastiness grows in its boldness in the middle with some roasty bitterness in the background. In the finish, the bitterness comes to the forefront with an almost dark chocolate and coffee-like roasty bitterness and some earthy-citrusy hops in the background. The aftertaste is mostly a roasty bitterness that lasts for a few minutes.
Food Pairing: The beer has a lot of roasty flavors, and would probably complement a steak with some char on it nicely. Another nice pairing might be some wet BBQ ribs with a nice sweet BBQ sauce on it to contrast the roastiness a bit, yet still compliment it with some char on the meat.
Overall Impression: I think black IPAs are some of the most difficult styles to balance. Similar to this one, the roasty flavors tend to overtake the hoppiness. Besides the fact that it’s difficult to justify calling this style a “BLACK India PALE ale,” this one also called itself a “sessionable IPA” which is pretty much bullshit (since it’s the also higher alcohol that defines an IPA). While this wasn’t a bad beer, it’s just more like a porter or stout with slightly more hoppiness. Don’t call it an IPA just because you added a bit more hops. Overall, I’d have this beer again if offered, but it’s not one I’d seek out.