If you have read this blog for a period of time you will know that I think very highly of Peak Organic Brewing Company. While I haven’t reviewed them in almost 100 beer reviews, they still rank up there in my books. When I was at the beer store a month or so ago I finally saw a new beer from them, Hop Noir. According to the bottle Hop Noir is a black IPA and comes in a 5.3%. There is some debate if a black IPA should be called a black IPA. I only have one other black IPA under my belt, and regardless of the name, the style is wonderful.
Hop Noir pours a jet black color and has a dense tan head. The nose is fully of fun smells. There are some great chocolates, both milk and dark, that jump out at first and then give way to a dull sweet roasted smell. When combined, all of these aromas have a cocoa feel. There are some distant hops hiding behind everything, but the malt is the real start here.
This beer starts with a gentle malt upfront that is fairly thin feeling, but then it gives way to a really nice roast chocolate combination. Unlike a lot of dark beers where the roast is the main player, the chocolate malt really thrives in this ale. About halfway through the beer the hops finally kick in. The bitterness is mildly strong for an IPA but it meshes perfectly with the malt. Unlike a lot of IPAs the malt is the real star of this beer and, from my experience, style.
This beer is damn smooth. It has a great balance of flavors and really just strikes a cord with me. The only problem that I found is that this beer is a sneaky SOB. It comes in at a shocking 8.2% ABV, but it doesn’t have even the slightest hint of heat. My wife really liked this one, and she is not a fan of hops (but she does know craft beer well). I will be picking up more of this beer shortly.