Review - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company's W'10 Pitch Black IPA
"Our Brewmasters' Release - Pitch Black IPA is a Pacific Northwest twisted tribute to an IPA style of beer. It is almost a traditional IPA but it is instead brewed to the emerging style of Cascadian Dark. We add a modest amount of a specially made debittered black malt to give this IPA a very dark color but without the characteristic dark malt flavors. Pitch Black IPA is hopped generously in the brewhouse and then again later during the dry hopping process. Hopheads of the world will certainly enjoy this dark version of IPA, as will beer drinkers looking for something new and experimental to fill their pint glass. The "W" Brewmasters' Release Series is from Widmer Brothers. A new beer every year. Built from the ground up by our hardworkin' brewmasters. Traditional, experimental, anything goes. Here's to trying new things." -- Widmer Brothers
Pitch Black pours a rich dark brown hue with a slight tinge of garnet reflecting through the bottom of the glass. A nice tight head has formed with excellent retention, marked with a chunky, frothy consistency and a medium tan color. Body clarity is almost completely opaque, although when thinning it out at the edge of the glass, the beer has brilliant clarity with very little activity. Initially it gives off a milky aroma with hints of milk chocolate. Behind the milky chocolate, a citrus grapefruit hop presence was noted. The malts consisted of soft toasted notes. Initial taste is clean and moderately bitter up front with some pine notes, with just a hint of roasted malt at the back end that barely opens up as the bitterness fades away. Light to medium in body, it has active carbonation and is slightly watery. It was very smooth and easy to drink. Our mouths were left in a pleasant state, not very drying as you may expect from a beer with a lot of roasted malts. The hop bitter finish created a soft mouth puckering, similar to drinking grapefruit juice. The alcohol presence was well masked by the malts and hops, increasing the drinkability. This is not the first black IPA we've had, but it is the first we've had that didn't have a significant roasted malt profile. With the malts just playing a secondary role, the hops still shine through keeping this a true IPA, except for the untraditional black color. A very worthy entry into the category of black IPA's, one in fact that I would say leads the pack.
Reviewed on February 10th, 2010.