Review: Pitch Black IPA, Widmer Bros.

Pitch Black IPA
Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. — Portland, OR

  • Style: Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Bitterness:  65 IBU
  • ABV:  6.5%
  • Malts:  2-Row Pale, 2-Row Caramel, 2-Row Carapils, Special Roast, Carafa Special II
  • Hops:  Alchemy, Cascade
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle  (Full disclosure: sample provided by brewery).

Description:  "Pitch Black IPA takes you to the dark side with our take on Cascadian Dark Ale.  Debittered black malt lends a midnight hue along with rich, toasty malt flavor.  Generous doses of Alchemy and Cascade hops provide a complex herbal aroma and subtle citrus note, balanced perfectly by a smooth Widmer Brothers finish.  Embrace the dark side." — Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. 

Random thoughts:   I first learned about Pitch Black IPA back in March when Widmer Brothers announced changes to its branding and beer lineup.  This beer was previously released under the name W'10 and I'm tasting it as part of my IPAs Gone Wild! series.  Widmer releases a new beer every year as part of their "W" series. W'11 was KGB Russian Imperial Stout.  I'm already looking forward to tasting Widmer's W'12 release in late December.

The tasting:  Near black in color with a huge tan head (I gave it an aggressive pour) that dissipated very slowly.  Aroma of grapefruit hops, piney hops, and roasted malt.  The flavor mirrored the aroma and I didn't notice the subtle citrus mentioned in the marketing description.  I noticed some malt sweetness and subtle alcohol in the middle.  Pitch Black IPA is medium bodied and the hop oils give it a sticky resinous mouth feel. This is a very hoppy beer and its grapefruit hop bitterness is present in the front, middle, and finish.  The combination of bitter hops and alcohol leaves a very dry sensation in the mouth.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!   Some people refer to this style as Black IPA, others call it Cascadian Dark Ale, and some folks have hissy fits about which of those names is used.  Call it it whatever you likebut know that Pitch Black IPA is a great version of this emerging style.  Widmer's website says Pitch Black IPA is available from January - April, but I've seen it recently in several grocery stores.  If you like hoppy beers, and have never tasted a Black IPA / CDA, pick up a 4-pack (it's not sold in 6-packs) and give it a try .

Have you tried Pitch Black IPA or any other Cascadian Dark Ales?  What are your favorites?

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  1. This is one beer that I'm glad they brought back after the end of its original run.

  2. Yeah, this is a good one. I hope they bring back W'11 as a seasonal. I stashed a few of those away in the crawlspace.


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