One of the trends I’m noticing in the craft beer industry is an attempt to shift perceptions of black/dark beers. Beer geeks roll their eyes when they hear someone say, “Oh, I don’t like dark beers.” So, I’ve noticed several “black” versions of regular beer styles – in particular, black lagers and black IPAs – in an attempt (I believe) to give beer geeks something different to drink, and something to show others that black doesn’t mean stout (in style or body). The idea of a black IPA sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give this one a try.
Despite being called a black, this beer was more of a dark brown color with a thin head on it. There was a very big piney and citrusy hop aroma (Cascade-like), which was so big it was bordering on pungent. However, I did notice a bit of a roasty and bready aroma as well.
The body was light to medium and it had a crisp mouthfeel. It had a bit of a roasty and caramel malt flavor before a big citrusy hop flavor kicked in. It was a bit like biting into a hop – very citrusy and a bit piney. The aftertaste was a lasting citrus-cascade hop flavor.
As far as a food pairing goes, I think it would actually go very good with a burger with sauteed mushrooms and onions on it. I think it would match up to the hoppiness and the mushrooms might bring out a bit of the caramel and roasty flavors.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good beer. I liked the hop flavors, but with the boldness of the hops and nearly 7% ABV, it could have been bumped up to a good double IPA. I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to try a beer from this brewery again, but based on this beer, I’d give them another try. I think it has also encouraged me to try to seek out other black IPAs.