Reflecting back on the Mad Hatter night at Bavarian Lodge I must say my appreciation for the beer has changed. Back then I found this average, but after sipping on this bomber I won me over. I guess my reason for the grade was due to the fact that I had not sampled that many Black IPAs at that point. However, having sampled a collective, I’m ready to give this one a new grade.
Pouring deeper than a porter, yet not as black as a stout, this beer looks similar to every other Black IPA. Same fluffy beige head that leaves lacy rings as you sip. When held up to the light dark brown and mahogany hues highlight the edges.
Dry hopped with Centennial, there is that familiar Mad Hatter appeal that will draw you in. Then, just as you remember the smell an earthy dark roasted malt profile a little remix for your nose. This beer had soft floral herbal notes that blend well with the malts regarding the aroma. The initial blast of hops is citrus-like but more lime in approach. There was some spiciness, pepper, and piney qualities as well. It smelled closest to Hopwork’s rendition.
The taste was actually pretty well balanced with a nod towards the malt side. Centennial hops are not the most bitter so they allowed the burnt grains to come forward. Since the abv is low, I found myself enjoying this beer more and more as I drank. The reason being: I could explore the flavors without a harsh overpowering heat/sting. Smooth and easy drinking all the way through.
The mouthfeel is on the lighter side making for a clean finish that has a spicy hop zing combined with the a mild astringency from the malt. The aftertaste has a low oily hop mouth-smacking dryness which drive you to the next sip.