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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Return of the Black IPA

Black IPA from the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co.
Last year when we brewed the Black IPA we were nervous about how it would be received. It's a tricky style that for some is nothing but a novelty. It has a lot of traction on the West coast but here in the East it hadn't gained the acknowledgment that other styles had. We wanted to take that challenge though and see if we could bring something new to the local brew scene that would challenge beer drinkers perception of what a dark beer can be. What surprised us was how amazingly well it was received. It was one of our fastest selling Brewer's Choice beers.

This year we decided we wanted to make it again. It has been asked for time and time again and we'd hate to dissapoint our fans. Even though it was popular we didn't want to rest on our laurels and we felt that there was some room for improvement. One area where we heard mixed comments was in the area of hopping. Some people felt it was a pretty hoppy beer while others felt it was a little under-hopped. Black IPA can be tricky as you do want a little bit of the malt character to come through. While some breweries use nearly flavorless dark malts to simply make a regular IPA black, the best examples have a touch of roast along with the big citrusy American hops that give it a deeper character. Too many bittering or flavoring hops can overwhelm the characters of the malt. Still we wanted to give it a note of something we felt was lacking.

This lacking element was aroma. The first time we made the beer it had almost no hop aroma and very little malt on the nose. This time around we wanted to fix that problem by generously dry hopping the beer. Lots of Cascade hops from Pompey Mountain Hop Farm were added in the brite tank (where the filtered beer gets carbonated and conditioned prior to kegging it). These hops don't contribute much to flavor or bitterness of the beer, but they help give the beer a bold hoppy aroma. Lots of pine and citrus notes that are characteristic of American IPA's. We think you're going to love it this year and we hope that you come in and give it a try. We begin pouring it Thursday, May 3. Get it while it lasts...