I love black ales, and I find that a lot of IPA's can be over-hoppy, so when Big Rig came out with a Black IPA I was intrigued. Will this be bitter like an imperial stout, or will it be smoother like a black lager? The answer is something in the middle that is a brilliantly balanced brew. I have to admit that this is not the first time I have had Big Rig's Black IPA, the first time I had it was at their brewpub about a years ago when it was a seasonal and I thought it was excellent so I tweeted to them saying it should become a regular beer, and it has since become a regular on their menu. I am not going to claim responsibility for the decision, but in my (occasionally delusional) mind I think I had a part to play.
It pours almost black, more of an extremely dark brown with a decently creamy head. The first sip produces a delightfully malty flavour, something akin to a light stout such as Guinness, but the texture feels definitely like an IPA. This nutty/malty intro fades into a hoppy (but not too hoppy) middle, followed by a nice smooth finish. This hoppiness is as hoppy as a proper IPA should be, which is to say that the hops are perfectly noticeable but they are but one piece of the overall puzzle, as opposed to overwhelming the beer the way some IPA's do. I really like this beer, it is well balanced, flavourful, and perfectly drinkable for a 6.2% dark beer. Big Rig have a large range of beers, but their Black IPA is a real winner, probably my favourite of their range.
It's available at their 3 brewpubs in Ottawa on draught and in growlers to take home. It's also sold at the LCBO in cans.
Rating: 4.5 steins
What you need to know
2750 Iris Street (Near Ikea)
103 Schneider Road (Kanata)
115-1980 Ogilvie Road (Gloucester Centre)