My friend Kina from Baker City recently gave me a growler of the latest brew from Barley Brown’s Brewpub over there (one of the very few breweries in Eastern Oregon), named Turmoil. The style is a "Black IPA"; it’s a 7.6% alcohol ale, super hopped, and the twist is the black color. It resembles a Schwarzbier though as near as I can tell the darker contribution is primarily in color only, because it doesn’t taste overly dark or roasted to me.
For sure it’s a unique style, and from what I gather about the brewer at Barley Brown’s is that he likes to experiment and push the envelope and isn’t sticking to preconceived notions about style—he’s just out to brew a good beer.
For some reason this made me think of Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey, though I didn’t think to ask if the Barley Brown Brewer (I forget his name, exactly… Kina told me… Sean?) has been experimenting with barrel-aging his beers. That would be cool. He’s definitely right up there on my list of brewers I want to meet.
Jeff over at Beervana was recently ruminating about indigenous-to-Oregon (and the Northwest in general) beer styles, and I have to say, I think this beer could potentially rank right up there as an indigenous Oregon IPA style. It definitely has all the makings for it.
Appearance: Dark, dark brown, nearly black… very deep ruby-garnet highlights are barely visible when held up to the light. Tan creamy head.
Smell: Hops, hops, hops. Viney, resiny, pine, pitch—sticky. Not citrusy—it’s intensely piney—as the pint progressed I kept being reminded of a fragrant pine tree (pine tar?) as I sipped the beer—which leads me to believe that Chinook hops were used. The hops dominate the nose.
Taste: The hops dominate the flavor, as well… almost a green hop character… very resiny with some pitch, like a mouthful of fresh hop cones. Wow. Malt is mellow and smooth, almost creamy, I think—I’m guessing the "black" is what contributes to this (similar to Sam Adams Black Lager, but without the sour/dry character). It’s definitely all about the hops here though… spicy, "hot", sticky, bitter.
Mouthfeel: Hop oils flood the mouth and leave a strong bitter aftertaste. Nice drinkable body.
Overall: This is a hophead’s beer, through and through. I quite like it, and I still have half a growler left…
On BeerAdvocate, they initially had it listed as an American Brown Ale (I sent them a correction), but there is only one review: 3.85 out of 5. On RateBeer, there are only 4 reviews, not enough for a percentile rating, but the score is 3.7 out of 5.
Thank you Kina!!