After dedicating a year of celebration to commemorate 30 years in the craft beer business, Summit Brewing Company is rolling out a couple new beers for your enjoyment. Maybe you expected them to relax and rest on their grain bags? Hells to the no! Summit continues to provide us with new beers that showcase magnificent flavors and ingredients.
This is only the 3rd time that Summit has brewed a DIPA. I absolutely loved Hop Silo, the 18th Unchained beer brewed by (then Summit and now Utepils) brewer Eric Harper. I thought that the DIPA Summit brewed last year for their 30th Anniversary lacked a bit of balance. So, I was excited to see how the 3rd go at a DIPA would turn out.
This DIPA has a great hop profile. It is the highest IBU beer (105) Summit has ever brewed. Summit utilizes hops from New Zealand, US, and Germany which all coax out flavors of bright and tropical fruits. The German hop, Bavaria Mandarina, imparts a refreshing citrus note in the flavor and aroma. They also use an American hop, Azacca, which is quickly becoming a go-to for brewers who want a nice pineapple essence in their beer. The New Zealand hops, Wakatu, Orbit, and Motueaka all contribute fruity flavors of mango, passionfruit and lemon-lime.
The malt that Summit uses provides a great balance to this DIPA. Weyermann Barke Vienna Malt gives the beer a nice toasted character. Some flavors of caramel and graham cracker help to harmonize with the hops flavors of tropical and citrus flavors. “We’re aiming for a clean, assertive citrus hop bitterness that relies heavily on Weyermann Barke Vienna malt for support,” says Head Brewer Damian McConn.
I like this DIPA because of the powerful punch of citrus hoppiness. The DIPA is available on draft and in 4-packs of 16oz cans. This beer signals, maybe in a wishful thinking sort of way, the fact that spring is on its way. However, the 8.5% ABV alcohol still keeps us warm while we wait for winter to take its icy grip off of us.
India-Style Black Ale
Summit’s India-Style Black Ale is a great example of how your palate can have its cake and eat it too. It is a 6.8% ABV beer with 60 IBUs. The roasted wheat and pearled barley malt provides flavors of coffee and dark chocolate. The hops (Bravo, Chinook, Denali, and Equinox) give the beer a strong presence of fruits (grapefruit, pineapple, and lemon-lime) and pine.
The first thing I want to say about this beer is that you are wise to let it warm up a bit. By doing this, the dark chocolate flavors will be intensified. Letting it warm will also bring out some of the stone fruit flavors imparted by the yeast. As the dark chocolate bitterness fades, it is replaced by an earthy hop presence. This sensation is the palate equivalent of the Sir Mix-A-Lot verse, “LA face with an Oakland booty.” Two completely different hop sensations in the same sip.
If you have not tried a black ale before, I strongly recommend this one. There are other iterations of this beer available from Steel Toe (Douglas Ale) and Surly (Damien). However, I am not sure about their availability during this season. The India-Style Black Ale is available in the IPA Collection, a new 12 bottle sampler from Summit. It is also available on draft.
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