Saturday Beer Review: Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA

People have been brewing beer for something like 8,000 years. Given that it consists of only four ingredients (malted barley, water, hops and yeast), you’d think pretty much every possible combination would have been exhausted by now. Not so: people continue to try and develop new and different styles and tastes. Sometimes they take this effort to an extreme (see my posting on Hops War), sometimes they succeed and come up with something good, and then there’s Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA…

On paper, this beer should thrill me: I love IPAs, and I love black beers (Ulla’s dad, Hermann, really introduced me to this style on my first trip to Germany — there are schwarzbiers and dunkels, different but similar styles, using dark malts that tend to have a rich, malty, toasted flavor). But somehow when they combined the two, they cancelled each other out. The hops bitterness fights with the toastiness of the darker malt, and the loser in this clash is, unfortunately, the beer itself. There’s too much going on: this beer just doesn’t know what it wants to be.

I have to say that it grew on me slightly. After the first one, I didn’t think I’d even finish the six pack. I figured I’d be pawning it off on people who visited for the next few weeks. But I decided to give it another try and the second one wasn’t quite as offensive. I did (a couple of weeks later) finish the six pack, but I wouldn’t buy this again. Still, if you’re experimental (you know who you are), you might want to give this a try, even though on the Keith scale, it only gets 5/10.

Don’t ding Otter Creek for this, however: the rest of their beers I very much enjoy. Check them out at

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