Otter Creek is a brewery that, in my opinion, makes okay to good beers
across the board. So when I tried their Black IPA I was genuinely
shocked by how great it tasted. This beer could probably pass for
something made by one of the more revered craft breweries as it’s got a
bold, well-balanced palate and high drinkability. Now why can’t the rest
of their line be this good?
Appearance: Opaque black body. Forms a large, coffee-colored, frothy head which laces and retains very well.
Smell: Plenty of citrusy hop aroma as well as a subtle, but significant
amount, of pine needles. Distinct roasted barley scents as well.
Taste: Otter Creek Black IPA is pretty much the embodiment of the black
IPA style to the letter. Plenty of hop character throughout, but a
strong malty presence as well. The citrusy, West Coast-style hops are
strong here. Orange is quite prominent throughout the palate, as well as
a milder presence of pine or resin, but without any cloying or sticky
characteristics. Roasted barley creates for a strong malty backbone the
entire time with a sudden burst of sweet milk chocolate at the apex,
followed by what tastes a lot like coffee on the finish and in the
aftertaste (though the beer is not brewed with coffee).
For a non-imperial brew it’s quite robust and the flavors here
definitely are delectable. This is definitely a hidden gem sitting on
the shelves of supermarkets and beer stores throughout the Northeast.
Drinkability: Though extremely flavorful, Otter Creek Black IPA is not
an intimidating beer. The mouthfeel is mostly soft with a slightly
creamy texture, yet it still has a discernible carbonation presence. It
goes down smoothly with a pleasant hop bite at the end, but still has a
mostly clean aftertaste. That they got this much body and character out
of "only" 6% ABV is quite impressive, as it could mistaken for something
bigger. A bit too big to session, but one serving is quite satisfying.