There is an old saying that is often recalled from those synapses you call a memory. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The same can be true in the realm of marketing. Recently the Widmer Brothers sought to provide evidence of their commitment to preserving a good thing with the re-introduction of their Black India Pale Ale. You might recall this beer featured many months ago as W’10 but today it’s called Pitch Black India Pale Ale.
Pitch Black India Pale Ale is another in series of brewery re-released beers that have taken their cues from the W’ Series. Previously known as W'10 Pitch Black Black India Pale Ale remains the same as it did that first time we reviewed it many months ago. But for the sake of consistency we revisit this beer with the suggested guidelines taken from an American-style Black Ale.
Suggested Style Guidelines from the Brewers Association
American-style Black Ale is perceived to have medium high to high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. Fruity, floral and herbal character from hops of all origins may contribute character. The style is further characterized by a moderate degree of caramel malt character and dark roasted malt flavor and aroma. High astringency and high degree of burnt roast malt character should be absent
As it pours out of our bottle we notice light that once shined through disappear with only a small base of reddish-brown near the bottom. Settling further this Black IPA forms a strong mocha-colored, frothy head; that disappears slowly as the beer warms up. Further examination shows a small veil of lace that is left behind with as the millimeter of head escapes into the air.
Taking our first sniff one detects underlying green grass, earth tones; followed up by bits of pine and roasted caramel.
With our fist sip we initially detect pine needles and a rich-soil, earthy, bitterness; before a roasted almost burnt caramel malt is detected midway through the sip. As this Black India Pale Ale makes it journey to the back of the throat a finish of citrus is picked up, along with roasted grains.Overall the beer feels medium to strong on the mouth and there is some residual stickiness.
About W’10 Pitch Black IPA:
Pitch Black IPA is a Pacific Northwest twisted tribute to the standard IPA style of beer. A Gold medal winner at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and a spinoff of traditional IPAs, W’10 is brewed using the emerging style standards of Cascadian Dark. True to IPA style, W’10 Pitch Black is brewed with generous amounts of hops and additionally a modest amount of specialty debittered black malt to give it a very dark appearance, without the typical dark malt flavors.
Key flavor points:
Peppery, resinous, citrusy hop aroma and flavor Significant, but smooth with quick bitterness Medium body built on caramel malt sweetness and lightly toasted malt Slight, soft dark malt flavor
You Should Try This. Although the Brewers Association has weighed in with their definitions of an American-style Black Ale, this Black IPA is a wonderful reminder of a time when definitions were still unwritten. If you have ricotta cheese, walnut and some vinaigrette this might hit the spot when accented with bits of bacon and ham. Else we would suggest some sharp cheeses or a healthy portion from a pan of chocolate brownies.
Pitch Black IPA should still be found on the shelves between now until April 25th, after that we can’t guarantee availability.
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.