1244. Penumbral IPA

1244. Penumbral IPA


Jadyn and I had dinner at the CBC on October 13th. I passed up pumpkin beers to try this one. From the website:

CBC inaugurates it’s new Tabula Rasa specialty beer series with Penumbral I.P.A., an almost black Belgian India Pale Ale. The Tabula Rasa (blank slate) series will celebrate outside-the-box creative brewing as informed by ancient history, poetry, philosophy, conceptual art, and rock ‘n’ roll music. Releases will be irregular but inspired.
A penumbra is a partial shadow, as in an eclipse, between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination. Penumbral I.P.A.’s depth of color sends you into the shadows only to be illuminated by bright floral hop notes in the nose and on the palate, balanced by spice and earth notes from our house Belgian yeast. Some of you may find yourselves confused by the apparent contradictions of this beer. Belgian brewers had made nearly black beers for centuries, but they’re not known for super hoppy brews and only recently have “Belgian stouts” appeared. Leave it to American craft brewing ingenuity to combine Belgian character with an I.P.A., and then paint it black.
Amarillo and Glacier hops provide fruit and floral notes while a backbone of Belgian pale and aromatic malted barley is augmented by German CaraFa, a specialty malt which provides color without excessive roastiness. Blend in a little Belgian funkiness and your palate will plunge into the shadows of this dark-but-brilliant beer.

Beer Stats:  
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company

Alcohol: 6.8%
Serving: Tap
Style: Belgian IPA

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 3.5 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability:  4.0

Overall: 3.9

Penumbral IPA pours a cloudy, dark brown that almost looks black. It's topped by a creamy, light-brown head that fades quickly, but leaves good lace. The aroma is surprisingly malty. There are strong notes of caramel and chocolate, notes of roasted grains, and grassy hops.

A caramel malty sweetness upfront is undercut by the roasted malt flavors in the backbone. The sweetness mellows towards the center with a roasted dryness appearing. The finish is roasted malts and a mild, hoppy bitterness. This beer is crisp with a mild dryness in the finish.

Having not seen the description of the beer, this is not what I was expecting. I thought it was a pretty interesting take on a Belgian IPA.