The hot summer air’s so thick you could cut it with a rusty butter knife. It’s night and it feels like it’s been night for days. I’m not sure what time it is, or even what day it is for that matter, but it’s half past the time I should have caught a cab back home and a quarter to when nothing good happens. The intoxicating smell of sin and the sound of sirens fill the air. A slight rain falls and the flickering neon nightclub lights reflect in the puddles as I walk down the boulevard, it’s mesmerizing, especially for a lowly beer reviewer like me.
A sign says 40 taps, and that’s 41 more than I need right now but I can’t resist. I walk in. I’m in a beer bar, in a beer part of town of a beer city. A waitress walks up and says “Hey mister, there’s a witty orange Belgian over there with your name all over her”. I politely tell her “I like those swell doll but they’re a dime a dozen. I‘m looking for an original, see?”.
I walk up to the bar, a friendly voice says “What’ll you have stranger?”. I tell him “Give me something smooth, dark, and hoppy Sam, and make it a double”. He eyes me up and down and says “Are you sure you’re ready for that stranger?”. I reply “I’m down on my luck Sam and I feel like I’ve been searching for this brew for days”.
He looks me over as he pours the glass, he calls it the Widmer Pitch Black IPA. It’s jet black with a tan-colored head that makes itself at home. Seductive cocoa and juniper aromas rise up from the pint, it smells like a Nestle covered Christmas tree. Chocolate, black malt, and spruce hop notes hit the tongue initially followed by dry charred malt and coffee mid-sip. The finish is astringent but creamy with intriguing pine hops. Overall, it’s everything I expected it to be-very satisfying but not for the meek.
As I’m starting my second pint a man approaches, he’s wearing a trench coat and carrying a notebook. This fastidious man starts asking questions about my beer, the usual…IBUs and such. Seems he’s some kind of beer detective, some kind of suds PI. He’s real curious and even more thirsty, he said he‘s been watching me for awhile and thinks I might know something about a smooth, dark, and hoppy brew. I’d spill my beans in a heartbeat but who knows how much of that keg is left. I keep my trap shut and he’s off the trail, for now…..
The hot summer air’s so thick you could cut it with a rusty butter knife. It’s night and it feels like it’s been night for days. I’m not sure what time it is, or even what day it is for that matter, but it’s half past the time I should have caught a cab back home and a quarter to when nothing good happens…………….
Good stuff! I’ve been wanting to try a black IPA since seeing an article about them in Imbibe, but haven’t found one in Tampa yet. Wish Deschutes was distributed in FL!
Thanks for the comments! The Widmer Pitch Black IPA can be found at Total Wine, I picked it up at the Tampa location off of Mabry. Bought a few bottles in the singles section but it’s probably available by the 6-pack as well. Cheers!
Thanks, Robb. That’s actually where I shop for my hooch the most and I didn’t see any black IPAs last time I was there (about 6 or 8 weeks ago, I think). I’ll grab some next time I’m there.
Cute story! Love Belgian beer! How is this compared to Blue Moon?
That’s like asking how a pit pull is, compared to a poodle! 😉
Thanks Karina! I’m a Belgian beer fan as well! The Pitch Black IPA is quite a bit more bitter and more hoppy than a Belgian Wit like Blue Moon and the black ipa is made with darker malts that give it a roasty flavor. If you’re into Belgians, here’s a Belgian Wit taste test and a Belgian Strong Ale review that may be right up your alley: https://www.tayloreason.com/archives/battle-of-the-belgian-wit-beers-the-best-white-beers-out-there/
Thanks for letting me know and for the links too! I sometimes like darker malts, depending on the mood that I am in. Cheers!