No, it’s not New Glarus Fest (although that would be AWESOME)…it’s just that it happens to be the majority of beer currently in my apartment. Black Top is a new brew from New Glarus Brewing Company. It’s a Black IPA, which intrigued me so much I had to pick up a bottle. (Side note: build-your-own sixpack at stores with huge selections is fantastic.) The staff over at New Glarus recommend you drink this with steak, Mexican food, or creme brulee. Quite the mixture there. And because this is a Wisconsin company, they also recommend this beer with Brie or Gouda cheese. I’m pretty sure I had it with a chicken patty….

Style: American Black Ale (Black IPA). ABAs, also called Black IPAs or Cascadian Dark Ales, range from dark brown to black in color. They have the hoppiness and citrus flavor of a traditional IPA but, unlike traditional IPAs, also have malty and roasted notes.

Overall Impression: Hello, hops. This has the initial taste of an IPA but it settles into those malty flavors I mentioned above. On the second taste I even got a hint of chocolate–what a nice surprise! This would be a great springtime beer because it is still quite light and has those citrus and hop flavors, but would also be good for early fall.

Appearance: Black with some brownish hints. Think dark coffee. Clear but so dark you can’t really see through it. Good head although the retention was not excellent.

Aroma: Hop hoppity hop hop hop.

Taste: Initially you get hops and citrus much like your standard IPA. As the taste hangs around though, the roasted and malt notes come through. Does NOT leave you with a bitter aftertaste–another pleasant development from this beer.

Mouthfeel: Difficult to describe. It had good carbonation and lingered long enough on my taste buds so that I could sense the complex flavors of this beer.

Try this if you like: War Horse American Black Lager, New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale, Surly Damien

4 pints