Over the last few years, craft beer has seen an epidemic of oxymorons. The IPA—that is, the India pale ale—has fathered the black IPA, a roasty and bitter brew that has generated oodles of cantankerous digital debate. "Can we call it an India-style black ale?" "How can an IPA be black?" "Shouldn't it be called a Cascadian dark ale, after all the brewers in the Pacific Northwest brewing them?"
The answer to all these questions is: be quiet. Who cares what a beer is called if it's delicious. And heavens, there are so many fan black IPAs on the market that, happily, I could spend a weekend drinking 'em all down. (A good regional one to look for is the Otter Creek Black IPA.)
While craft brewing is an industry of innovators, it's also an industry of imitators. No sooner does one brewery have success with a style than 10 more join the fray. Today, black IPAs are so 2011. Now, brewers are incorporating dark roasted malts into saisons and, thanks to the Bronx Brewery, the pale ale.
Last week, the Bronx team released the Bronx Black Pale Ale, an oxymoronic ride on the dark and tropical side. The unfiltered, unpasteurized ale is made with plenty of Dorado and Citra hops, which lend a lovely tropical profile that plays nicely with the flavors of dark chocolate. It's currently on draft only, so keep your peepers peeled for it on tap lists around town.
One place I know for certain you should be able to snag it is Jimmy's No. 43, which will roll out the Bronx Black Pale Ale with a party on January 3 from 7 to 10 p.m. Try a taste and let me know what you think. Go on, live life on the dark side.