When you hear the term ‘IPA,’ the characteristics that cross your mind is not a dark and foreboding, but light and sharp. Dark and foreboding is usually reserved for heavier beers, porters and stouts and creamy ales. But if you do it right, a Black IPA can be both. As the name suggests, these beers are the color of onyx but can hop with the best of them.
Black IPAs fall into a nether-region category between American IPA and Black Ale. It doesn’t even have a technical spot on the Brewer’s Association Style Guide. In most cases, you will get high hoppy notes, high bitterness, with a mild to average malt and roast flavor. However, to differentiate the Black IPA from other such hoppy stouts and IPAs, the beer should be black (or very near to it) and the hops should be the main flavor of the beer. Denver, known for a plethora of breweries, has a great selection of this unique beer. Below you’ll find a list of tap rooms where you can sample our favorites that are offered at this time. Cheers.
What: Mockery Brewing’s Black IPA
Where: 3501 Delgany St., Denver
ABV: 6.5 percent
Mockery’s Black IPA pours with a mild khaki head and a midnight black body. It comes off very hoppy with subtle earth tones and just enough bitterness to round out the bottom.
What: Jagged Mountain – Barking Marmot
Where: 1139 20th St., Denver
ABV: 7.4 percent
Marmot pours with little off-white head and a crystal-black-and-brown body. It tastes with a heavy bitterness and slight notes of coffee.
Wit’s End Brewing
What: Wit’s End Brewing’s Super FL IPA
Where: 2505 West 2nd Ave. #13, Denver
ABV: 6.9 percent
This bad boy is brewed with nine different malts, so the body comes in heavy but steers into a hoppy aftertaste. They also use a touch of cedar wood-chips to give it mild earthy tones, which are easily identifiable.
River North Brewing
What: River North’s Hello Darkness Black IPA
Where: 2401 Blake St #1, Denver
Aside from having a great name, Hello Darkness pours with a tall musty blonde head and — you guessed it — a dark black body. This one doesn’t come off bitter at all, but sticks to the hoppy IPA portfolio and earthy tones of the Belgian style.
What: Odyssey Brewing’s Perpetual Darkness
Where: 5535 W 56th Ave., Suite 107, Arvada
ABV: 9.2 percent
Perpetual Darkness sticks to the hoppy regime and has more of an IPA flavor, but it’s a facade for the slight yeast and malty flavors you get deeper. Odyssey is planning on canning Perpetual Darkness around the end of January for a one-time run, so head over to the taproom and get a leg up on the liquor stores.
Did we miss a black IPA worth its weight in hops? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @303_Magazine.