Mendocino Brewing Company - Black IPA
- ABV: 6.0%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 44
- Serving Temperature: 45-50º F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass, Mug
- Malts: 2-Row, Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Crystal Rye, Chocolate, Pale Chocolate
- Hops: Summit, Pilgrim, Cascade
On the pour, Mendocino’s Black IPA presents – not surprisingly – an extremely dark brown/black color topped with a crop of brown foam that retains well. There’s a distinct roasted character in the aroma akin to coffee beans, along with some earthy notes and caramel undertones. Riding atop the brooding malts is a vibrant, perfume-like, hop aroma that delivers floral tones and citric notes that are bolstered by the addition of orange peel in the recipe. All these aromas carry through on the palate, which boasts a very coffee-like roast character, a touch of dark chocolate, and a little smoky char. Hops are purposely not overly bitter since the malts make their own contribution here, but they do merge with the orange peel to provide a nice fruity verve that we found interesting and endearing. Black IPA (or, American Black Ale, if you prefer) is a developing style open to fairly wide interpretation; we like what Mendocino’s done with theirs. Pair this bold brew with a plate of Colby or cheddar cheese, or smoky, charcoal-grilled foods. Charbroiled burgers topped with aged cheddar would be perfect! Cheers!
Mendocino Brewing Company’s story begins 31 years ago when the Hopland Brewery opened in the small town of Hopland, CA, along the west bank of the Russian River (the region was an important hop farming area from the mid 19th to the mid 20th centuries). Truly one of the pioneering microbreweries that proved so key to the microbrewed beer renaissance, the opening of this brewpub on August 14, 1983 was a red letter date in U.S. brewing history. It was the first brewpub in California since Prohibition, and only the second in the entire U.S. In those days, people made the pilgrimage from all around the country to visit the little brewpub in northern California that brewed some of the country's best beers. By 1997, there were 780 brewpubs in the United States; these guys laid the foundation for many of those, and the craft brewing revolution that continues to this day.
The brewing operation grew very quickly in the early years. Demand for their flagship beer, Red Tail Ale, and other raptor-themed brews continued to swell to the point where their original brewpub, though expanded in brewing capacity multiple times through the years, could no longer keep up with demand. In 1997, the company underwent major investment and expansion, leading to the building of their Ukiah, CA brewery and bringing the historic Olde Saratoga Brewing Company in New York into the fold to give them access to select markets on the East Coast.
If you’re ever in the area of Ukiah, located about 115 miles north of San Francisco near Redwood country, we highly recommend making a pit stop at the Mendocino Ale House where you can enjoy the brewery’s beers on tap, just a half mile down the road from where they’re brewed. For hours, call (707) 467-2337. For more info on the brewery, visit them at www.mendobrew.com.
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