The dark malts of a porter or stout, the bitter bite of an IPA, the black IPA is an example of American ingenuity (and indifference to common sense; how can it be both an India pale ale and also be black?). It’s a style that straddles a line with one foot in the dark beer category, another in the hoppy beer category. For an example of this dichotomous libation, there’s Black IPA (6.5% ABV) from Sanitas Brewing Co.
Color: Though black at a glance, Black IPA is really more an extremely dark red when held up to a light. Mocha-colored foam sits atop.
Aroma: There are no discernible hop aromas in Black IPA, the scent is dominated by chocolate and mild, hardly-roasted coffee notes.
Taste: Black IPA starts out smooth and chocolate-y but that gives way to a burst of bitterness akin to cocoa nibs or black coffee. Then, in the aftertaste, there is a different type of bitterness—pine resin. This aftertaste does not linger at first but, with each subsequent sip, the hops become more apparent and last longer.
Mouthfeel: Black IPA is relatively dry; the hops want to dry out the mouth but the malts keep it from being too arid. It is a beer that’s on the high end of medium in terms of thickness.
Dark beer or hoppy beer? Thanks to Black IPA and others of its ilk, no beer geek need make that decision. Black IPA is available just beyond the Denver metro area; click this link to see where one might procure a six-pack.