Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clipper City Heavy Seas Black Cannon Black IPA

I love to support regional beers, and I’ve already written about a number of southern Pennsylvania craft breweries. But I haven’t reviewed any beers from Baltimore - until now. Black Cannon is what they call a black IPA. Yes, I know: a “black” pale ale is a contradiction in terms. But it’s also a very delicious beer. Imagine combining the piny and grapefruit hop flavor of an IPA with the dark malts of a stout or a porter. That sounds pretty good on paper and tastes just as good crossing my lips. I like IPAs, and I love stouts. Combined, they make for one fine beer. The Heavy Seas Black Cannon is a variation of Clipper City’s flagship IPA, Loose Cannon. It’s got the pine and fruity (grapefruit, orange, pineapple) character of a good IPA plus the black color and defining malts of a dark ale - coffee, chocolate, caramel. Without a doubt, this is one of the most perfectly balanced beers I’ve tasted in a long time. Neither predominantly hoppy nor overly malty, this beer strikes a medium so happy you’d have to call it blissful. Perhaps it’s not aggressive or “extreme” enough to attain cult status amongst beer geeks. But as the sort of beer lover who finds amazing taste to be far more important than “daring” brewing, I give Black Cannon an A-rating without hesitation. Soon to disappear from store shelves for the year, this is a winter beer that won’t taste at all “out of season” as we move into spring. Buy it now if you can find it and enjoy it for a couple more months. This year’s batch will stay fresh ‘til June.

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