A few weeks ago we gave lukewarm approval to an offering from Twisted Pine Brewing Co. of Boulder, Colorado.
In their infinite wisdom and generosity, the folks at the brewery tripped over our review and thought it best to send along a few more of their products to see if we might more heartily embrace one.
Of the freebies, the one that most intrigued us was the brewery's 15th-anniversary Hoppy Knight, an "India-style black ale" (named Knight for the brewery's founder).
Transitioning from summer, dominated by IPAs, to fall, we thought it might be fitting to try this beer now, and were, we think, right.
The brew poured as dark as its name suggested it might, and gave off a mildly smoky aroma indicative of the roasting it took to get the grains to that tint.
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The first taste was earthy, with an obvious dose of roasted flavor, though light on the palate. The most pleasing aspect of the beer was that, just as the bitterness of the roasted taste started to come on too strong, the hops took over, pushing their way to the front and helping each sip finish crisply and without an overpowering aftertaste.
That said, this beer would probably be best accompanied by a small snack, some simple cheese and crackers if nothing else. After a while the tinge of ash did pile up -- but by that point our beer had warmed a bit and some more full-bodied, malty flavors started to peek through, tempering any real threat of charcoal.
In all, this is a good offering. The roast makes it mellower overall than a standard IPA, but the hops are still present and you're never wanting for bitterness.
If you run into this somewhere, give it a try.