Beer Blog: The Dark

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Let’s get something straight. I’m not scared of the dark. It’s more like the darkness pisses me off. I’m talking about the end of Daylight Saving Time here. Fall back. Get out of work and the day is gone. So much for that post-work ride. Sure, I could charge my lights and head out into the cold, empty night for a spin, but it’s so hard to motivate when it’s this dark. I think I’ll just go home and catch a rerun of Seinfeld.

The dark sucks. Unless you’re talking about beers.

If you’re talking about beers, then sometimes, darker is better. Stouts are dark. I like stouts. Porters are typically dark. I like porters. And then you’ve got these hybrid beers that breweries are putting out now—the “Black IPA,” which look to bridge the gap between malt fiends and hop heads.

In theory, I love the idea of a Black IPA. It’s like you’re combining two really good things into a single great thing. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re dating two women. Or two men. Or goats. Yeah. Let’s say you’re dating two goats. And one of those goats is really smart and the other goat likes to dress up as a naughty nurse. Put them together, and you’ve got a naughty nurse goat who can quote Shakespeare and knows the square root of 7,921. That’s an awesome goat. I wanna hang out with that goat.

Starr Hill has created a smart, naughty nurse goat called Sabbath, by adding a chocolate malt backbone to your standard IPA.

As the name implies, the beer is truly black—jet black in color—but it’s far more subtle than a lot of other black IPAs I’ve had recently. The beer isn’t incredibly hoppy to begin with. There are some citrus notes and a bit of zest, but it’s not a hop bomb (only weighing in at 35 IBUs, which is Pale Ale territory, honestly). And don’t get excited about the inclusion of chocolate malt—there’s nothing too sweet going on here either. Instead, you get a beer that drinks like a pale ale with a healthy biscuit malt quality and roasted undertones.

Was I expecting something a bit more outlandish? Yes, but that’s okay. Not every beer out there has to be a palate wrecker. Sometimes, restraint is welcome in my beer fridge. Sabbath shows a lot of restraint. It’s an easy drinker, with a creamy mouthfeel and just 7.2% ABV. And drinking one offers a hell of an alternative activity when you decide it’s too dark to go for a ride.

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