American Black Ale - 7%, 77 IBU, Colombus, Centennial, Simcoe Hops
The return of Temple Brewing with their brand new facility in Brunswick in Melbourne’s inner north is a reason for all whom share a passion for good beer to rejoice. Pilgrims to this fair city should not hesitate to head to Temple and pay homage before the altar of the brewing gods, sing your praises to the Saison, anoint yourself with the coppery liquids of the Special Bitter and receive benediction from the Soba Ale before finally prostrating yourself before the High Priest, the Midnight IPA.
The Midnight IPA belongs to a style of beer upon which no-one has quite come to consensus as to what it should be called. Many go with Black IPA, as the beers are quite hoppy but this designation is an oxymoron and therefore stupid. A number of American brewers want this dark, yet intensely hoppy style to be christened Cascadian Dark Ale after the Cascade Ranges in the Pacific Northwest where a number of American Hop styles were developed. I’m really not a fan of this name either as it is too much of a mouthful and difficult to say when drunk. The Brewers Association uses the term American Black Ale which I find to be as good a descriptor as any but at the end of the day the brewer whom crafts the beer gets final say and when a beer is as good as this he can call it what he wants...
Tried on tap, the Midnight is blacker than all NWA combined and twice as aggressive, only with more hops than glocks. It pours from the tap with a modest creamy head of similar colour which leaves a small ring of lace around the glass. A really delicious aroma, a sniff reveals hop notes of sweet mandarin and passionfruit with a tinge of lemon while the new style of wheat malt from which this beer derives its name announces itself as fresh cut grass with a dry ryvita like character.
The Midnight is a medium bodied, smooth drop which slides over the tongue like velvet. There is great depth of flavour in this beer with a rich earthy character with toasty malt notes laying the foundation upon which sit the hops with a pronounced mandarin flavour on the approach which transitions to passionfruit and a touch of rockmelon in the mid-palate before a deep, roasty finish with a long aftertaste of rye.
A few beers of this style have been released over the last year or so and all have been worthy with the likes of Feral’s Karma Citra, The Thorny Goat, Kooinda Full Nelson and Prickly Moses’ Black Panther but I have to say, the Midnight trumps them all. Somebody offer this on growler now dammit!!!