Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mendocino Black IPA

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (892) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 29, 2013
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 this brewery.

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. 
Grade: 7/10