As usual, we’ll go from least to most hoppy and start with the one I’ve had before, the Oktoberfest. Pours a little light for an Okoberfest, a kind of ruddy amber, with a two-finger white head. Taste is very dry, almost roasted chocolate and coffee beans, with a crisp, clean finish and a crackery aftertaste. Possibly the driest Oktoberfest I’ve had, but still representative of the style. I like it a lot.
Next up is the Founders Inspired Artist Black IPA. Made for the Grand Rapids ArtPrize, this is a special release that I believe is exclusive to Michigan. Poured it into a glass and got immediate roasty malt aroma and citrus/floral hops. I actually audibly gasped at the aroma. It was that good.
Sorry about the flash on that pic. It’s hard when you’re taking pictures of black beer under normal lighting. And yes, that’s Classic Who in the background. The Seeds of Doom, if anyone cares.
Once the beer settles down a bit there’s a classic roasty quality with that nice citrus floral bite. What sets this one apart (and makes me like it more than many Black IPAs) is the hint of spicy/earthy hop in the hop build, which helps connect the two sometimes disparate flavors. I’ve seen a lot of European beer writers claim that the Black IPA is really just a hoppy stout, but I wonder if they’ve had some of the better examples of the style. (Or, at least, the more American-hopped versions.) Black IPA is a style that I tend to regard with suspicion, at best, but this one is worth picking up if you can get it.
That’s enough for tonight. Cheers.
The first beer sent to me in trade with Tommy. The rest will be coming shortly.
This video is a bit longer than usual because I’ve had and reviewed several Black IPAs in the last couple of weeks, and I spend some time musing about the style. Is it really all that new? Will it stick around, or is it just a fad? I’d be interested in getting comments on those kinds of issues, and may make a more involved video on the topic down the road.
Beyond the Pour grade: B+
I took a few days off from uploading, just to give myself a breather from the shooting and editing.
I guess I’m the spoiler of the bunch. I “only” gave it an A.
This whole Black IPA style hasn’t quite been for me. The first one I had was Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, which I found kinda “meh.” Since then, I’ve had maybe a dozen, some good, some not, but none has quite been out of this world. Is this a style that’ll stick around, or is it just a flash in the pan?
Anyway, today I’m talking about Short’s Bludgeon Yer Eye IPA. It’s another one of their limited-release bottlings, and it’ll be out of stock in the area within the next day or so. I’ve always said this is a weird business model for Short’s, but they seem to be making plenty of money so who am I to question them?
Pours jet black with a thick yellow-white head. Tons of lacing on the sides of the glass. Smells strongly of citrus with a bit of spicy hop, with lots of licorice and black patent malt underneath. Roasty, dry, caramel qualities rise to the surface.
Flavor is very well-balanced between the roasty characteristics and the citrusy hops. There’s just enough of a spice quality to keep the beer interesting, and balance out what might have been overwhelming sweetness from the citrus. I wouldn’t want more than one or two of this, but as an occasional treat it’s pretty nice.
Beyond the Pour grade: B