Audrey and I went to The Underground Tap & Grill tonight for our anniversary outing; 72 taps (two of which are cider, so Audrey is happy), 24 rotational. I had the opportunity to try 4 different beers, so Peak Organic's black IPA Hop Noir will be the 5th, and I have no idea if this is a good thing or bad.
"But Stephen," I hear you ask, "if the P in IPA stands for pale, how can it be black at the same time?!"
It's a valid question. My understanding is that the use of American hops (commonly Cascade) and roasted malts result in a beer as dark as most porters but much more highly hopped, like an IPA.
True to its name, Hop Noir pours an almost inky black, with a persistent head of off-white foam. The nose carries dramatic levels of pine and a bit of citrus, similar to many double IPAs I've had.
This beer has a moderate mouthfeel, somewhere in the midst of a watery lager and soupy stout, which suits it well and the hop characteristics dominate the initial taste, and give the beer almost a pucker factor. At 8.2% ABV, there are definitely some sweeter notes and high alcohol to counteract it though, and the overall effect, though challenging, is remarkable and enjoyable. Would I have more than one of them? Well, probably not on my own, but depending on the company and occasion, who knows? I can say with certainty that, despite my not being a dyed in the wool hophead, I would definitely have Hop Noir again.
Meanwhile, in Bethlehem, I believe the final sheep has joined the rest of the flock.
My Chinese zodiac sign is the ram, which I think eloquently captures my ambivalence between leading and following. The motto of my alma mater, Augustana University College (now Augustana Faculty) is "ducere et servire" which translates as "to lead and to serve". In the end, I think it is important to have the strength to lead, as well as the humility to follow, and this applies to faith as much as it does to anything. Even in first century Palestine, shepherds were outsiders; how notable is it that they were the first ones to know about the birth of Christ?