Black IPA/ American Strong Ale | 8.70% ABV

What would be your initial reaction to a Black IPA? Are you curious or confused? A real debate has spawned on Beer Advocate recently on the idea of Black IPA’s. Some seem to think that they deserve their own style category, while others find the notion completely ridiculous. Regardless of what side of the fence your on with the name one can’t dispute the awesomeness of these beers.

Beer Advocate categorizes Sublimely Self Righteous as an American Strong Ale which in my opinion is a very accurate description of the beer. I just can’t understand how one can categorize a beer under a title that includes “black” and “pale” in the name. It’s much like Dogfish Head naming 120 Minute IPA a Double IPA. You’d need one a hell of a shoe horn to ram it into that category. But I digress.

Like I’ve mentioned, there is no dispute on the flavors of these Black IPA’s. Very dark, medium bodied beers with a slight bitterness from malts and loads of hops. The high bitterness masks the alcohol rather nicely making them rather easy to drink.

The unique blending of styles in Black IPA’s makes them a great pairing beer. My opinion may be somewhat swayed given I’m a fan of hoppy beers. Although the balance of malt and hops makes them perfect for savory and possibly sweet dishes. My first experience with pairing a Black IPA was with bacon, cheddar, chipolte sliders. The malts linked so well with the caramelized meats while the hops marched in and tamed all the heavy umami flavors. Chipolte mayo garnished the burgers and added a very delightful zing which was slightly intensified by the hops. While also being tamed slightly by the malts further into the finish. Given all the pairings I’ve done, this seems to be the most versatile food friendly beer yet.

My preference for pairing is to contrast the beer and food. I’m not much of a fan of having chocolate in my beer and also in my food, they seem to cancel one another. With that said, I could easily see Sublimely Self Righteous linking rather nicely with deserts. Now, in order to properly pair something that is bitter you must have over the top sweet. Think along the lines of those super chocolate triple fudge cakes you can get at some chain restaurants. You’d have the lightest bit of malt to link the beer to the food, but most importantly all the sweet would be contrasted so well with the hops. It’s all theory at the moment, but I will certainly give it a try.

beer + food = Barleydine

Beer reviewed by Uncle Barley Josh



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