Monday, December 5, 2011

Neither fish, nor fowl. But still great.

I’ve probably sampled a half dozen black IPA’s and one thing I’ve found consistent throughout the lot: none of them has the typical characteristics of an IPA. No piney or grapefruit smell and no citrus or grapefruit taste that I recall. So I’m at a loss as to why the new raft of dark beers is being called “IPA” but never mind. I’ve liked them all. They may not smell and taste like IPAs, but they’re definitely black, or at least dark.

The latest local offering from Old World Brewery, Eclipse Black IPA, is no exception to this trend. It isn’t hoppy in the traditional IPA sense but it’s plenty good and low enough in abv to serve as a decent session beer. I got wind of this release through Old World’s Facebook page and made a commitment to drop by as soon as possible in order not to miss it, along with another short run offering called, suggestively, “The Prick.”  I had my opportunity a couple weeks before Thanksgiving.

The maniacs at OWB are just as friendly and welcoming as ever and I felt as though I’d not been away any time at all, though it's been several months since my last visit. Knowing that I’d have to get on the road after a single pint, I ordered a serving of The Prick, with its lower abv, and asked for a bomber of Eclipse to travel. The Prick is a prickly pear wheat beer that has a faint hint of sweet breakfast cereal to it – not unlike one of Leinenkugel’s beer’s, the name of which escapes me at the moment. I’m not typically a fan of wheat’s but this one is a keeper.

I chatted with the fellows at OWB, enjoyed the prickly pear wheat, tossed a bomber of Eclipse in the trunk of the car and headed home. Once at Beer Rant HQ, I sprang the top off that bomber and poured the contents into a glass. The tasting notes read so:
Eclipse, Black IPA
Smells slightly chocolaty. Nearly opaque coffee brown, persistent tan head. Surprisingly thick mouthfeel. No hints of pine or grapefruit as you’d expect from an IPA which is pretty standard with the other black IPAs I’ve tried. I don’t like the notion of an IPA that doesn’t taste like an IPA but this is a good beer.

There you have it. Judging by their Facebook page, the guys at OWB aren’t letting the grass grow between their toes. Word comes that they’ve got a honey wheat out now and they’re anticipating the release of a Scotch ale, similar to the one they put out for their first anniversary. Here’s to the future.

By the way, if you’re an advocate of Facebook, why don’t you go over to the Old World Brewery Facebook page and “like” them? I hear it’s all the rage.

As a bit of a postscript, when Thanksgiving rolled around, my son-in-law came over from Camp Pendleton where he's preparing for another all-expense paid trip overseas do defend the rest of us.  I stopped by OWB and grabbed another bomber of Eclipse for him to enjoy during his short stay.  He's now back at Pendleton and I didn't get any definitive feedback on the Eclipse - Marines are men of few words - but I suppose it was okay, since it disappeared pretty fast.

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