Brewbeat NW – Widmer Brothers Pitch Black IPA

Brewbeat NW – Widmer Brothers Pitch Black IPA

Widmer Brothers: Pitch Black IPA

Happy Holidays PNWers! This week we are going to look at a beer from a brewery I feel is one of the most underrated, yet still one of my favorite breweries of all time: Widmer Brothers!

Widmer Brother’s Pitch Black IPA (Indian Pale Ale) is a contradiction in terms. The contradiction is first seen in that while the IPA is very dark to the eye, it is light on the palette. The Widmer website states that this beer is their ‘take on the Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA). The CDA style of beer is a newcomer to the beer world and has previously been called the ‘Black IPA’. The Pitch Black IPA (and CDA’s in general) has all the qualities of a beautifully over-hopped IPA beer, but is obviously darker in color.

The dark color of this beer leads one to expect a thicker feeling as you drink it, however one finds this beer has the light feeling of any IPA. Unlike the stouts that the Pitch Black IPA resembles, the roasted grains are omitted from the beer and de-bitterized malts are then used to create the dark color without compromising the flavor expected of an IPA.

In tasting the Pitch Black IPA, I found the beer to have a hop and fruit filled aroma. The pour yielded a light golden head, unlike the tan color head of the cousin of the CDA–the stout. My initial sip of the beer was very hoppy with a floral like aftertaste. As I continued to drink the beer, the hops faded off a little. Interestingly enough as the hops faded the taste that emerged reminded me of a porter.

The higher hops content and hoppy flavor of this beer causes me to not recommend this beer for those new to the craft beer world. However, if you like hops and a great IPA then this beer is for you. Its unique composition includes five different kinds of malts and two different types of hops–including, Cascade hops. This beer is seasonal with an availability from January to April and boasts an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 6.5% making this a hoppy but drinkable beer!

For this beer, I used an English style Pub glass that has a bubble near the top. I would recommend this type of glass, as it is designed to drink darker colored ales especially, ales that look dark, but don’t taste ‘dark’.  Widmer themselves pictures the beer being consumed out of a stout glass. What ever the glass you choose, or if you go out of the bottle, bottoms up and enjoy!

Over All-Rating: 8/10

Approachability (for new comers): 6/10

Flavor: 9/10

Pour/head: 8/10

Bouquet: 8/10


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