Sunday, September 4, 2011

STONE BREWING's "15 ANNIVERSARY ESCONDIDIAN BLACK IPA"

You're probably as uninterested as I am in the whole provenance of the "Black IPA" - where it came from, how to stylistically define it and all that. What was interesting to me, however, was this STONE BREWING ale - their "15TH ANNIVERSARY ESCONDIDIAN BLACK IPA" that had a "Bottled August 2011" mark on it (indicating freshness, you know) and that had just received a big thumbs-up from The Beer Rover. If the Beer Rover digs it, it just might be good. I decided to buy it, drive home and rip the top off that thing and drink it with extreme prejudice. As you'll see, I'm quite satisfied with this decision.

This particular beer - which is wonderful - shows you how preposterous this whole "Black IPA" thing is anyway. Sure, it's black. None more black. But an IPA? No sir. This beer is an roasty as any imperial stout, with even a layer of creamy sweetness, and calling it an IPA makes about as much sense as calling a tripel a dubbel and a dubbel a dopplebock. Can I get a witness? It's got a good tongue-smacking breadiness, a sort of oily character and that caramel, malty roasted taste you'll get from most stouts. Someone wrote that it tasted of "grapefruit and pine needles". What are you smoking, young man? This is not an IPA, despite what it says on the bottle. It's really, really great black ale though - and it only set me back $5.99. That's a hell of a bargain, and we at Beer Samizdat sure love us a bargain. 8.5/10.

3 comments:

Derrick said...

I tasted more of the hops than you did Jay, but no, it doesn't come across as an IPA. I've actually been a bit underwhelmed by the last couple anniversary ales from Stone but found this one excellent.

Sean said...

The few Black IPAs I have had (all of which I enjoyed) tasted like hoppy porters to me, but what do I know.

Jay H. said...

I'm with you, Sean. I know Stone did it fact make one early on that was amazingly hoppy like a double IPA - and yet black! - so I know it can be done. Just not with this one; but the beer itself is excellent.