Monday, April 14, 2014

A Ruhstaller Addendum

In the last post I described how I found Ruhstaller's 1881 Sacramento Red Ale pleasing, yet benign.  (What's a Sacramento Red Ale anyway?)  The same can't be said about Ruhstaller's black IPA, CAPT California Blk IPA.  Black IPAs are a tricky style to get excited about.  Once you get passed the debate over whether the beer should be called "black IPA" or "Cascadian dark ale," there is usually not much to say about the underlying beer.  Most of the black IPAs I have had have been good, but not great, or even memorable.  They are beers whose deep roasted malts dominate any hop flavor distinction other than bitterness.   I like black IPAs, it's just hard for me to pick one out as being that much better or worse (or distinctive) than any other.  Ruthstaller's CAPT California Blk IPA was different.  Yes, it was heavily roasted and malt forward, with a generic hop bitterness like other black IPAs, but there was something else.  I'm not sure whether it was spices or herbs that added character.   I'm leaning towards sage, but whatever the herb, it made CAPT interesting, something I'd expect from a beer in a bottle wearing a black sweater.

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