I’ve been very happy with previous black IPAs – Hoppy Bunny blew me away – so I was excited to see local Big Boss Brewery take a step in that direction with their first(?) offering in this style. Like many other North Carolina breweries, Big Boss seems to excel at creating top-notch dark beers.
So how did this brew fare for me? Let’s hit the jump.
What surprised me the most about Night Knight was how even keeled it seemed. Balance is typically a wonderful thing for a beer to have, but for a hybrid style like this, I’m not so sure when it comes to balance in both aroma and flavor. (At least personally)
While the aroma of the beer clearly fit the IPA portion, filling my nostrils with immense, resinous hop smells, the floral contribution of the hops just bludgeoned the roasted grains into submission. If I really strained and inhaled deeply I could struggle to pick up roasted coffee and some caramel, but you shouldn’t want to work that hard to pick up the nuances of the aroma. This is all fine, since I like IPAs and hoppy brews.
Meanwhile, the flavor was anything but. Tastes of coffee and chocolate are seemingly bare-knuckle boxing the hops for supremacy of my taste buds. I just couldn’t determine a single dominant flavor. The initial taste upon hitting my tongue was a touch of the malt, with hoppy bitterness taking over on the middle to end. The aftertaste was decidedly coffee with a dryness that coincidentally didn’t leave my tongue wanting more.
As the beer warmed, the hops more easily get pushed to the side in lieu of roasted flavors. At 6.5 percent ABV, the booze never really shows up. I doubt it would’ve had a fighting chance in the first place.
If you’re in NC and want to try a novel black IPA, this might not be the one. It’s a perfectly fine middle-of-the-road option, but I’ll take Hoppy Bunny any day of the week over this one.