21st Amendment – Back in Black

These tasting notes on the 21A Back in Black come with a bit of an interesting story.  It’s a Friday night in San Francisco and I’m off to see a show at the Great American Music Hall called WootStock.  It’s basically a geekfest nerdcore show staring none other than Wil (Wesley Crusher) Wheaton, Adam (Mythbusters) Savage, and a musical duo called Paul and Storm.  Lolz were had and I was able to meet Wil and Grant Imahara (also of Mythbusters), which was all very cool.  My friend had made Wil a shirt (back story here) and so as thanks he bought us a round.  That’s right, Westley Crusher paid for our beer.  It was awesome.  Nuff said.  By this point you’ve guessed that the beer I selected was the 21A’s Back in Black, Black India Ale.

Other than the fact that I love the 21A and nearly everything they produce, my primary interest here was to try another commercial example of a Black India Ale/Cascadian Dark Ale (whichever you prefer) and compare it to my own attempt at the style, which is now a nicely matured brew of its own. Back in Black has a very nice, but not overbearing roast malt flavor that you would expect from the dark malt additions. It’s a bit more malt forward than the one I brewed, and I admit, I rather liked the upfront dark roast character. As expected, the dark roast quickly gave way to the the hops and it faded fast into a IPA feel and flavor, which I still find somewhat magical and is why I’m so enamored with this style of beer. The hops were exactly what you’d expect from an IPA, I’m guessing
somewhere in the 70-ish IBU range with definite citrus notes of the Pacific Northwest hops. I ended up sucking down 5 of these over the course of the evening, discretion being the only reason I didn’t rage on with more.

As with many of the 21A’s beers, this one came in a can, which is really starting to catch on with the craft brew world, and rightly so. I’ve had their Brew Free or Die IPA and Water Mellon Wheat in both the can and fresh off the tap without noticing much difference between the two. Cans really are mini-kegs.

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