Below the bubbles of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the glassed in sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Black Cannon IPA sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy color; above him swell
Huge foamy heads of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous mix and scalding brew kettle
Unnumber’d and fragrant Humulus
Winnow with giant lacing arms the slumbering brown-black.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge malted barley in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and drunks to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface be drank.
(The Kraken by Alfred Tennyson circa 1830. Modified by Oliver Gray; original here)
This beer is amazing. It’s delicious and distinct, releasing gentle wafts of coffee as it slowly settles in the glass.
I could wax poetic about how…oh wait.
This is only one of two black IPAs I’ve ever tried. Stouts and Porters are generally low on my list of favorite beers, but somehow, when mixed with the hoppiness and strength of an IPA, their status greatly improves. I’m sure this sort of beer requires an appreciation of stouts and IPAs, which may both be acquired tastes.
As I mentioned in the primer post, this was the “Mystery X” beer of my sampler pack. I’ve had it before (and loved it before) so I was excessively delighted to find 3 of them safely tucked into the back of their cardboard home.
It pours black. No-light-escaping black. Pretty much like a Guinness or a Murphy’s Stout, but with significantly less silkiness and foam. It lacks the nitrogen smoothness of a widget-can beer, but that takes nothing away from this exceptionally brewed beer.
The texture is similar to Sierra Nevada Stout. It’s lighter and easier to drink, and doesn’t feel like you’ve swallowed a loaf of marble rye whole if you take an extra large swig.
The smell is what will first captivate; powerful dark roast coffee smells supported by flowery hops. I imagine the first pot of coffee each morning makes entire breweries smell like this. It’s wonderful. I would probably be content to just sit and smell this beer, without ever taking a sip.
But I’d be a fool not to. The taste is unlike anything I can list, even the other Black IPA (which unfortunately, I had in a restaurant and didn’t have the forethought to write down) which is saying something for a small brew American beer. At first, you might think you’re drinking a full-bodied stout or porter, with roasted malt flavors backing up the fresh coffee bean smell. But then, like a wave of flavor crashing on the shores of your tongue, you’re hit with hops – lots of them – from the IPA side of the world.
The union is just great. Dandy. The bees knees (whatever that means). I won’t bother wasting more words. Just go try it.
10 out of 10
Next up: Smuttynose IPA!