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Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black Adder and the American-style India Black Ale

Black Adder is an American Black Ale or Black IPA by the Buckbean Brewing Company of Reno, Nevada. This is not to be confused with Black Adder Stout by Mauldon's Brewing Company in England.

Black IPA's or Black Ales are another West Coast born style along with Amber/Red Ales and Double IPAs. They are even called Cascadian Dark Ales, after the West Coast hops that are often used.

Last year, the Great American Brew Festival created a category for it called "America-style India Black Ale". That first year of competition Barley Brown's Brew Pub of Baker City, Oregon won gold with their Black IPA called Turmoil. Since then the name is now officially an American-style Black Ale.

Needless to say this is a style growing in popularity, which means there will be some duds before some brewer perfects it.

I bought this on tap at Dad's Kitchen. It has an ABV of 7.2%.

The beer pours a dark brown, stout-like color with a fizzy, thin head that leaves little lacing. The aroma is subtle with roasted malts, some nuttiness and pine and citrus hops. The taste is not as roasted as I would have thought. The roasted malts are there but subtle and so to is the hops. I can tell this is a well hopped beer, but the bitterness is not overwhelming. There's a crisp hoppy finish. It's medium bodied and well carbonated.

Overall, the beer is ok and I'm not yet sold on this style. I like hoppy beers and I like dark beers, but for different reasons. When you combine the styles the two reasons disappear. I think this could turn out to be a great style, but it's still in its infancy and needs time to mature. I would Skip It and either try another Black Ale.

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