I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. There was no freshness date. It cost $2.25 ($0.19 per ounce).
Appearance: Opaque black body, no visible carbonation. Forms a small, beige, foamy head which laces and retains well.
Smell: Light pine and citrus notes. Pretty typical nose for the style.
Taste: Mendocino is a brewery located right up the road from me in
Saratoga Springs, yet I rarely review their actual products (they do
contract brew a lot of beers I’ve reviewed, though). I saw their new
black IPA at the beer store and the fact it was brewed with orange peel
intrigued me. While the beer itself is pretty good, it’s nothing
particularly special. Though it’s probably the best beer I’ve had from
Mendocino Black IPA drinks like a pretty standard IPA. Only on the first
few swigs did the "black" component actually come out. The rest of the
time it drinks like a classic East Coast style IPA with a lot of pine
notes. Nothing sticky or full of resin, just pine needles throughout the
first half with a hint of orange citrus on the finish. I’d imagine this
is due to both the hops and the use of orange peel in the brew, though
there is nothing spicy about it. I did pull some pleasant roasty,
stout-like flavors on the first few swigs, but they homogenize to
general dry bitterness with a slight coffee aftertaste. A few tweaks to
this recipe could make it really unique and memorable, though as it
stands it’s pretty good (if that’s good enough for you).
Drinkability: I find that Mendocino tends to make deliberately
pedestrian brews, and their black IPA is no exception. The body and
mouthfeel are both medium all around with a fairly soft texture, mild
carbonation and smooth finish. A slight drying sensation on the tongue
afterwards, but easily tolerable. It’s quite flavorful for 6% ABV and
makes an ideal accompaniment to a strong meal or with dessert.