Peak Organic Brewing in Portland, ME is proud to support local businesses that focus on the production and use of fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients. Peak Organic sources many of the malts, hops and adjunct ingredients for their beers from local farms and artisanal businesses, many in New England. It is the support of Peak Organic and other breweries with a similar philosophy that has led to the growth of local farms producing organic hops and malts. This shows the impact that craft beer can have on the economy, not just the jobs produced making and selling the beer, but also the farms that grow the key ingredients necessary for brewing. Peak Organic makes a series of year-round and seasonal ales. One of their most popular beers is Hop Noir, their Black IPA. Hop Noir is brewed with a combination of dark malts including organic black patent malt along with liberal additions of Centennial hops.
Peak Organic Hop Noir pours a very dark brown with a mild, but well sustained tan head. The smell is pretty tame overall. There are some hops to start, with notes of pine and citrus. This is followed by some dark malts which contribute coffee and dark fruit aromas. The hops are much stronger in the flavor, adding pine, earthy and spicy notes with aggressive bitterness. This bitterness is rounded out by the dark malty flavors, chocolate, black coffee, caramelized sugar and a touch of vanilla. The beer finishes solidly bitter, leaving a lingering sensation on the tongue. This is not surprising because Hop Noir has 98 IBUs (the human tongue can only taste relative bitterness up to 100-120 IBUs, so this is on the high end). At 8.2% ABV Hop Noir is pretty strong for a black IPA, and the alcohol combines with the pungency of the hops to make this a slow sipper. If you like your black IPAs balanced between dark malty flavors and a tart finish then Peak Organic Hop Noir is a good choice. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.