Greetings beer fanatics, Brandon here with another edition of the Saturday Night Sixer! The calendar has turned over to 2013 and already is bringing us plenty of beers to salivate over, and that’s where I come in. If you aren’t sure what will please your taste buds, what new styles your favorite brewery has available, or you are just looking for something new and exciting for the weekend playoff games, look no further than this week’s offering. As always, all of the brews featured here in the Sixer can be found at your local fine packaged liquor store, and if you are outside of New Mexico make sure to check out Beerjobber to have some delivered to your home. Onward to beer…
This week’s edition of the Sixer finds yours truly recovering from an intense head cold, and although a lesser man might succumb to such a thing and pass on a pint, I don’t follow common sense! (Editor’s note: He really doesn’t. — Stoutmeister) Plus, I figured that something strong and hoppy could possibly help clear out the sinuses. Now, being the cold season, hoppy beers aren’t necessarily on the front of most breweries’ minds since most are still cranking out some delicious winter brews and rich stouts. However, the good folks at Santa Fe Brewing Company have just the thing, and it happens to come in the form of their latest seasonal offering, their Black IPA.
Santa Fe Brewing has been producing some renowned craft beers here in New Mexcio since 1988. Chances are if you live in New Mexico and fancy craft beer, are venturing into the craft beer world, or even were just wanting to try something new, you have probably at least tried a Santa Fe beer. Possessing a stable of beers varying greatly in style certainly has helped their cause, as beer such as the Nut Brown, State Pen Porter, Chicken Killer Barley Wine, and those unmistakeable yellow cans of Happy Camper IPA have made Santa Fe Brewing a mainstay in the craft brewing community in New Mexico and beyond. With a 30-barrel system and bottling line in their facilities in (you guessed it) Santa Fe, their brews have reached around the southwest and helped put our state on the map in the craft brewing world. As I mentioned, those yellow cans of Happy Camper IPA have become fairly popular around the southwest; but this Sixer is about their new black cans filled with hoppy AND malty goodness.
Santa Fe’s Black IPA was a pleasant find; this style is one I’m particularly fond of, as a lot more breweries are doing it well these days. This one is no exception, and I have been lucky enough to try it both in cans and on tap recently. The beer itself does not possess the instantly recognizable aromas you might expect from anything with an abundance of hops. Hints of roasted malts and some slight spice aromas swirl around while a blend of floral and citrus hops let you know that you will be in for a lupulin-tinged treat. The color of the Black IPA was about what you would expect, as it presented with a deep brown hue and deep amber highlights; not quite jet black, but a deep color with a thick, creamy, off-white head, something I didn’t quite expect. That head should have been an indication as to what was to come as it was frothy and thick, like something you would expect in a stout, with some nice lacing once it dissipated. This beer certainly delivered a tangy hop blend, with slight citrus and pine notes to contrast with the floral hop notes, and it hits all over the palate. This brew isn’t all hops, though; the roasted malts definitely hit in the middle and towards the back of the palate and help balance out the citrusy flavors of the hops. There is just a hint of sweetness in this beer that helps even out the bitterness from the hops and the subtle coffee hints. The finish is smooth and pleasant, leaving the roasted malts with fading hops. Possessing a creamy — but not too rich — mouthfeel, this is certainly a very drinkable BIPA. The bitter, roasted malts blend well with the pine and citrus hops, with mild floral hints as well. Overall it creates a tasty balance, with just enough punch to leave its mark on your taste buds.
I am actually quite impressed by this beer, as it is a style that has personally been dominated (in my humble opinion) by other breweries in the past. Santa Fe Brewing is certainly putting forth an awesome seasonal here with their Black IPA. It is very drinkable, with enough hops to tide over hopheads, and the malty goodness to cater to those who crave those roasted flavors. It clocks in at an appropriate 7.1-percent ABV, with a low alcohol bite to it, making it a good beer to session for the rest of the time it is available. Now, BIPA’s tend to swing more towards the malty side or the hoppy side, but Santa Fe Brewing seems to have struck a great balance with this one, although I’ll still say I detect more of the malts overall. I would certainly recommend this for folks who enjoy the best of both worlds with bold flavors, but Santa Fe’s Black IPA is also drinkable enough for those who prefer their beers towards either end of the spectrum, or who just like a good dark ale or IPA.
Santa Fe Brewing’s Black IPA should be available on tap at select establishments around the state, and can now also be found in cans in your local packaged liquor store. For our friends outside of the state, Beerjobber.com can fulfill your Black IPA fix, so get it while you can, as indications are that this will be a seasonal brew. Hopefully they will consider brewing this year-round, as this is too tasty of a treat to let go until next year! Grab some cans while you … can, no pun intended.
Until next time …
— Brandon Daniel (Cryptogrind)