It’s a good thing when you and a major craft-brewery find yourself on the same page/ It seems that happened twice to me today, once with Driftwood’s latest release and again with Phillips. All this convergence which makes me wonder if some people in the local brewing industry have been reading my blog. I doubt it, but it’s nice to pretend. In any case, the second convergence between my thoughts and a brewers’ product came in the form of Phillips latest limited release, known as Cabin Fever Imperial Black IPA.
Brewed in honor of the change of the seasons, and consistent with Phillips time-tested philosophy of combining two or more styles together, this beer combines the deep roasted malt character of a black ale with the bitter, hoppy kick of an IPA. And to top it all off, they fermented it for an extended period of time to make it especially strong. Yes, on top of its stout-like profile and heavily hopped character, it also weighs in at a hefty 8.5% alc/vol. And in the end, the flavors accent it each other very well, with the coffee notes of the dark ale playing well with the herbal, citrus bite of an IPA’s worth of hops.
Appearance: Black as tar, opaque, good foam retention and carbonationNose: Deep roasted malts, discernible bitter hop presence
Taste: Immediate burst of citrus malts, tawny malt flavor, herbal notes
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness of coffee-like malts and citrus rind
All in all, this beer was quite the interesting combination, and certainly made for a good all around drinking experience. Though definitely not for the faint of heart or the delicate of palette, it was one of the best dark IPA’s I’ve had of late. As I’m sure I’ve said before, this sort of combination has become quite popular in recent years, but this has to be the first time that it was so thematically consistent with the time of its release. Strong dark ale, citrusy IPA, it’s like winter and spring all rolled into one!