For the second installment of my guest post I had similar two dark beers to enjoy.
I started with Indeed Brewing Co.’s “Midnight Ryder”. An American Black Ale, aka Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA, or as I like to call them in a tongue firmly in cheek kind of way, hoppy stout. This is a style of beer that more than any other proves the ambiguity of beer styles by the sheer number of names used to describe beers of the style.
If you thought the “difference between stout and porter” debate was a hot topic, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
It pours pitch black with a big, thick 2 finger beige head which stuck around and clung to the glass while being drank. Even holding it up to the light, this thing is BLACK, no light is even getting through the edges. I can see where the name came from. Smelly like, well, a hoppy stout. Coffee and chocolate mingle seamlessly with piney hops.
The taste is much the same, it really does taste like a hoppy stout. Dark chocolate and espresso jump out at you before you get oily pine resin and orange peel after taste. Neither the hops nor the malts overpower the other and this beer is a beautiful balance of sweetness and roastyness from the malts with the bitterness of the hops. The mouthfeel is thick and coating with a low level of carbonation. This is a beer to be savoured, not devoured.
It’s one of the best representations of the style I’ve had so far and I would love to get my hands on more. Not a beer for a session at 6.5%abv but would be a great beer to relax after a long day. As it states on the can “Adventure awaits you”.
Hat tip to Indeed Brewing Co. for the artwork on the can, it really is impressive.
It’s not often you see a bear with a monocle and a bowler hat being ridden by a man in a suit with a handle bar moustache!
Next up was 21st Amendment’s “Back in Black”, another hoppy stout, sorry, I mean Black IPA.
It poured a deep dark brown (think a bottle of guinness extra) rather than black and had a fluffy 2 finger head which quickly faded to about half it’s size but didn’t disappear and left a decent cobweb of lacing on the glass.
The smell as I was pouring was super sweet, I could smell caramel and malted milk while it was coming out of the can. When I got my nose to glass to have a proper smell it was much the same, bit biscuity, caramel malts with a sweet citrusy hops.
The taste was chocolate and caramel to start with a little roasty bitterness, followed by the hop classic hop taste of Californian beers, floral and citrusy with a clean, lasting bitterness.
I drank this beer second because it was higher in abv and the can said it had 65 IBUs, but you’d never know either to drink it. The mouth feel is very light and there is a lot of carbonation. The sweetness totally hides the alcohol content and means that the hops play second fiddle to the malts on this one.
It’s a lovely beer in it’s own right, extremely easy to drink considering the alcohol and hop content which is an achievement in itself, but I wish I’d had this first and the “Midnight Ryder” last tonight because the beer from the midwest is just, well, better.
All in all I’ve been impressed with the two 21st Amendment beers I’ve had over the last 2 nights. This brewery is definitely another feather in the cap of the West Coast’s already impressive cap.
I have been equally as impressed with the two Minnesotan beers. The craft beer scene in the MidWest of the U.S. is not as far along as that of California or Oregon but they are not being completely overshadowed by their neighbours on the pacific coast.
Along with breweries like Chicago’s Goose Island and Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company, Indeed and Surly are putting Minnesota, and the rest of the Midwest, on the craft beer map and long may it continue. Hopefully I won’t have to rely on visiting friends to supply these beers for ever!
If I had to pick a personal favourite beer from these four I think I’d go with the Midnight Ryder, it really blew me away with the depth of flavour and how perfectly balanced it was. I can’t wait to try it from the Tap Room in the brewery whenever I have enough time and money to visit my friends in Minneapolis.