Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oshkosh Beer Sampler: Dark Voyage IPA

A slanted and endless survey of what’s pouring in Oshkosh, tallied one beer at a time.

What: Dark Voyage IPA, A 6.5% Black IPA from Capital Brewery of Middleton.

Where: All the big-box grocery stores in Oshkosh. I’ve seen it at a couple of mini-marts, too.

Why: Because it’s an interesting beer in at least a couple of ways. It pours to a deep, chestnut brown with a sticky tan head. The aroma is of fresh and leafy American hops with an undertow of toasty malt. It’s a fairly bitter beer, but not overly so. The hop flavor is grassy, slightly resinous and it blends well with the flecks of roast and chocolate flavors that fill out the body. The finish is pleasingly bitter. I’m not much for this style, but this is one of the better integrated examples I’ve had. I’m working on my second six-pack and enjoying it quite a bit.

Here’s the other part that’s interesting to me: Through much of the 19th century, English brewers produced hoppy porters that were shipped to British troops stationed in India. We all know about the IPAs that the Brits were sending to India, but some brewing historians contend that there were probably more highly-hopped porters shipped to India than IPAs. As I’ve been drinking Dark Voyage, the thought of those hoppy, English porters keeps returning to me. The malt profile of this beer is very much like that of a porter and the name – Dark Voyage – is evocative of those tall ships carrying a cargo of dark, hoppy beer on the long voyage to India. I wonder if that’s what the folks at Capital had in mind when they dreamed this one up. I hope so.

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