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Style Spotlight: Black IPA

Hey guys! Happy Thursday! Last week we spent some time talking about the Grand Opening and how incredibly awesome it was. We mentioned in that post that we now have 9 amazing Trek beers on tap. We want to spend some time this week talking about one in particular, our In Tents Experience Imperial Black IPA.

We haven’t done a style spotlight in awhile, but the Black IPA is one worth exploring a bit. The entire concept seems a little out there. An IPA is traditionally pale in color, with almost no noticeable malt characteristics. A dark beer conversely is almost always traditionally malt forward, with trace amounts of hop flavor. The Black IPA is the perfect merging of these two sectors in the beer world. A beer dark in color with huge hop flavor and aroma.

The history of this beer style is a bit convoluted. First, there are several different names for this beer: Black IPA, Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA), American Black Ale (ABA), and India Black Ale (IBA). There are many that still argue what to call this beer- Cascadian Dark Ale being the strongest competition. Several even feel it may be a better name. Cascadian is a reference to the heavy use of hops from the Northwest region in the style. It is also in this region where many of the early examples were brewed.

These days, whatever name you choose to call it by will probably work, but the BJCP classifies the Black IPA beer style under category number 21, “IPA” and it can be found in the guidelines as sub-category (21B), “Specialty IPA.”

It is largely believed that the first Black IPA was brewed by Vermont Pub and Brewery in Burlington, VT in the early 1990s. The recipe has been altered a little, but Blackwatch is still brewed by Vermont Pub and Brewery today.

Style guidelines say that this beer should be dark brown to opaque black with a light tan to mocha colored head. The beer should be clear unless unfiltered. Black IPAs should have a medium light to medium body with possible slight creaminess. There can be a noticeable alcohol warming, especially in imperial examples. You should be able to taste notes of chocolate or coffee flavors but the bulk of the taste should come from the hops. Bitterness can linger into the aftertaste, but it should never be perceived as harsh.

Our In Tents Experience Imperial Black IPA is one of John’s favorites, and with good reason. In Tents Experience has a delicious chocolate malt base, which gives it it’s black color and hints of chocolate and coffee flavor. A blend of Citra, Centennial, Cascade, and Columbus hops give this beer it’s incredible citrus hop flavor. In Tents Experience is a beer that lives up to its name, clocking in at 9.1%ABV.

We encourage you to come on out to Trek soon and try our Black IPA! We’ve got some really amazing events coming up that you don’t want to miss. Every Wednesday we’ve got Trivia with Spoo. Come test your knowledge with some friends and let our host Steve Spoo keep you on your toes. On December 15th come build Gingerbread homes to build a real home in the Columbus area. We’ve partnered with Habitat for Humanity’s The House That Beer Built and other Columbus area brewers to raise the funds for one family home. Purchase your $10 ticket to this event today to reserve your kit! Your ticket includes a gingerbread house kit and $5 donation to The House That Beer Built fund. And, to add to the awesome, Aloha Streetery will be our truck for that event– one of Columbus’ top rated food trucks. Don’t miss this family-friendly event! Lastly, now’s the time to purchase your New Years Eve tickets! We’ll be having the party of the year at Trek. We’ve got a DJ for dancing, catered appetizers, a champagne toast at midnight, plus we’re including your first two drinks in your ticket. We’ve got a DD option as well, if you’re ready to be the hero of the night. This event is 21+ only.

As you can see, our Trek has just begun. Come try the In Tents Experience and join our journey. It’s #WorthTheTrek.