Beerspotter: 21st Amendment Back in Black
Where Spotted: Cork & Fork, 7333 Atlas Walk Way, Gainesville, Va.
Price: $9.99 per 6-pack
Art of Darkness:
Black IPAs are a fresh take on that distinctly American style of beer, pairing the citrus-peel and herbaceous bitterness of hops with the French-roast-coffee notes of dark malts. The result, particularly in the balanced Back in Black, is sort of a backyard barbecue in a can: You taste the smoke and char in the body, but finish with the signature hoppy notes of an India pale ale.
Black Is the New Black:
Black IPAs were tinting hopheads’ glasses even before Stone Brewing Co. popularized the style last year with its Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (originally brewed in 2007 as Stone’s 11th anniversary ale). Like many brewing innovations, the idea percolated up from the home-brewing circuit, with the late pioneer Greg Noonan credited as the source. (Noonan also founded the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington.) Today, black IPA is one of the newest beer kits in his homebrew stores, bringing the trend full circle.