It feels like Black IPA is making a bit of a comeback. For a little while 8-10 years ago it seemed like Black IPA was the next big thing in beer and every brewery was giving these hopped-up dark beers a try. Then the haze-bombs started to drop and obliterated everything in their path. A few breweries tried to make black IPAs featuring the fruity hops that were gaining steam with the haze craze, and most of those beers were a mess, so many places abandoned the style. This makes sense, in general the rich chocolate and coffee flavors of roasted malt work better with the piney/grassy/resinous West Coast hop profile than the fruity hops preferred in New England IPAs. The haze isn’t going anywhere, those beers are still super popular, but we’re starting to see a re-emergence of more bitter West Coast IPAs along with American IPAs that are a mix between the versions from the two coasts. It is no surprise that this coincides with the rebirth of black IPAs, a style that can be absolutely delicious when done right. One black IPA I sampled recently is Atlantis from Rising Tide Brewing in Portland, ME. Atlantis is brewed with some classic West Coast hops including Cascade, Centennial and Magnum and is available on a rotating basis in 16 oz. cans.
Rising Tide Atlantis pours nearly black with a solid khaki-colored head. The aroma is a mixture of floral hops and roasted malt. The malts lead the flavor, notes of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The hops add touches of grass, pine, and lemon along with a mild bitter bite. Atlantis is medium-bodied and drinks easy, and it’s not too boozy at 5.4% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop and malt flavor. This is a really nice black IPA, plenty of flavor and good balance. I am glad that the style is making a bit of a comeback and look forward to drinking some more black IPA in the near future. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Rising Tide Reviews: