Monday, August 19, 2013

Alpine Ugly

Type: Black IPA
Origin: Alpine, CA
Price: Something like $12.96/64oz (yeah, it's that cheap)
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: 10.95
website (Doesn't even look like Ugly's on there)

Got a pork shoulder blade roast and a big-ass chicken on the smoker, which of course requires that beer be consumed.  And what could be better for that than a growler of, well, really anything from Alpine?  Ugly is their not-all-that-often available black IPA, only accessible at the brewery in growler form.  Don't think I didn't almost pour it in a jar- but I'm supposed to share it so pacing a bit is a virtue.

Guess what this smells like?  Alpine.  Sweet, blessed Alpine.  As with everything else they make, there's an absolutely amazing hop aroma. Lots of orange, in particular. It's not often that you have a black beer that's still citrusy, but if anyone's going to pull it off, it's these folks.  There's a touch of roastiness, particularly if you get your nose deep in the glass.  But this is still a hop-driven beer, no doubt about it.

Clearly Alpine's used the bare minimum of dark malt in this, just enough to achieve the desired color but not add any of the heft.  I even wonder if they just added the dark malts directly to the lauter instead of mashing with them.  Because while there's an appreciable roasted flavor, as there should be, there's just no weight to it.  This is by far the lightest-bodied black IPA I've ever had (not that I've had many, to be honest), and I have a hard time imagining it's possible to get it lighter.  It's certainly no heavier than Duet or Nelson, and that's a hell of an accomplishment.

For me, this is another beer made by Alpine that sets the standard.  I love that there's just enough roastiness to notice, and otherwise it's another delicious citrusy IPA.  But I can see that for someone else's tastes- someone who likes porters and stouts and really enjoys some hefty roasted flavor- this may fall short.  So, I guess it depends- are you drinking a black IPA because you like dark beers but want to try something IPA-y, or is it because you like IPA and felt like something a little darker than normal?  I'm the latter, so this is pretty much spot-on perfect.

2 comments:

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