Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tarantulas 2.0 Black Strong Pale Ale

I know its kind of beer douchey to write about a beer that is only on draft at one location (that I know of ), but I'm going to do it anyway.   Pizza Port Ocean Beach is now serving Tarantulas 2.0, which it calls a black strong pale ale.  I've never had a black strong pale ale before, but have had black IPAs.  Tarantulas 2.0 is black, like a porter or a stout, and its puffy foam is mocha.  The initial taste is roasted malts.  The hop bitterness appeared in the middle and stayed through the long finish.  The initial tastes had a faint caramel sweetness, but this was soon smothered by the hops.  I found this beer's bitterness more prominent than its roasted malt.  Tarantulas 2.0's body is thinner than I was expecting and belies its dark color, but it's appropriate for the level of hops and keeps it from slipping towards a porter or stout.  I have no idea the ABV of Tarantulas 2.0, as it was not listed at Pizza Port.  I would guess it's ABV at 7% to 8%.

This beer reminded me of a black IPA, and I am not sure why it's not a black IPA.   It was hoppy like a black IPA.  Maybe its modest mouthful kept is from being a black IPA, but it wasn't that thin.  About a third through my first glass I quit looking for distinctions and just enjoyed Tarantulas 2.0.  This beer is another solid beer from Pizza Port. 

Some Pacific Northwest bloggers are trying to co-opt the name black IPA and call it Cascadian Dark Ale.  I am not going to fall into this scheme and let black IPAs get hijacked by pretentious bloggers.  The Pacific Northwest has no more claim to this style than other parts of the country.  Plus, I didn't find Deschutes' Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale all that great, and surely not a beer to define the style.  Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, brewed far from the Northwest in Escondido, California, is an excellent black IPA and was likely many peoples', including myself's, introduction to black IPAs.   To be fair to the Northwestern bloggers, I never bought into the idea of calling double IPAs San Diego IPAs either, although this idea came from New Yorker Garrett Oliver, not bloggers, writers or brewers in San Diego.  To get back on topic, get a pint of Tarantulas 2.0, you'll enjoy it.

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