Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beer Review: Black Top IPA

Reviewing the Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company out of Wisconsin. This beer is one of New Glarus' most sought after seasonal beers.
Score: 89

Bottle stamp is "0962 13:39," meaning it was packaged on the 96th day of the year (April 5, 2012). This beer just hit shelves a week or two ago. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 05/05/12.

Appearance: Pour a deep caramel, almost black color with ruby highlights in the body when held up to light. Two fingers of creamy off-white/tan head at pour settles to a bubbly ring around the glass and thin film atop the glass. Average lacing and average retention with residual cling. 4/5

Smell: Lots of piney/grassy hops and citrus. Lemon, grapefruit, tangerine and a little sugary pineapple. A touch of creamy milk chocolate too. Really nice IPA aroma with a light chocolate twist. 4.5/5

Taste: A lot less IPA-like (and flavorful) than the nose let on. Creamy chocolate, chocolate malt, and a light amount of creamy coffee flavor upfront and on the midpalate. Then some creamy lemon citrus and grapefruit. Mildly hoppy finish. The nose is very flavor-intense, but the taste is quite subdued in comparison. Very drinkable and refreshing. Gets a little hoppier as it layers on the tongue. 3.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, medium carbonation. Smooth, oily, creamy mouthfeel. Slighty acidic and hoppy finish. 3.5/5

Overall: Solid black IPA, but I have had better. The nose is really nice, but it sets up the wrong kind of expectations for the taste. I would absolutely drink another, but not quite sure I would want five more.

Recommendation: This mild hybrid IPA is probably a good gateway beer for casual beer drinkers looking to get into IPA. Snag a bottle while it's fresh and in season.

Pairings: Hamburgers.

Cost: $9.99 for a six pack.

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