You can always rely on Batch to come up with complex beers that challenge the palate.
The Marrickville brewery’s India Black ale is a dark IPA. Everyone should be over this contradiction in terms by now – it’s just an evolution of the style.
In the stubby, little jar that they serve beers in at the brewery bar, it looks almost perfectly black with maybe just a touch of brown when it catches the light.
On top is a bubbly off-white head but this almost entirely disappears within a couple of minutes.
The aroma is predominantly hop-forward showing off some citrus and passion fruit. But the taste is a lovely confuddling mix.
First it’s toasty malt, then it’s a big, green, whole-hop taste with pine and citrus, then it’s chocolate malt before rounding out with major resinous flavours and a touch of booze.
The flavours really play around, jumping up and down, vying for attention. Each sensory wave wants to be first, to be the biggest, to be your favourite. As soon as the pine pushes through, the citrus drags it back down allowing the toasty aromas and flavours to come forward.
It’s almost cute to imagine all the different flavours, characterised and competing for your attention. But this beer is not so Disney sweet.
It tastes big. It tastes strong. But it continues to confuse and confound the senses by being extremely quaffable. You want to gulp it down.
India Black Ale, as you’d expect, is full-on with its bitterness. The early hop additions have really taken to their task and the bitterness is cranked up pretty high. Thankfully though, this doesn’t overpower the more subtle flavours that can be found in the beer.
As you quaff away, you’ll notice that it’s dry across the palate and the carbonation is on the conservative side of moderate. It doesn’t fizzle away madly.
There’s a pretty strong combination of flavours and I’d probably prefer to enjoy this beer on its own but if you were going to pair it with something you’d go for a bitter, dark chocolate tart with a tangy lime coulis.
Beer style: Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA
Pair with: Bitter, dark chocolate tart with a tangy lime coulis
Let me know if you’ve tried Batch India Black Ale. Leave a comment below with what you thought.