Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Black Is the New Orange

Have you guys ever had a chocolate orange? You know the ones in the foil wrapping that break into slices when you slam them on a table. 

I’m going to be honest, I’m not a big fan.

There’s something off-putting to me about the combination of chocolate and citric fruits. Chocolate covered bananas I’m all over, but the bittersweet, orange-iness of orange-flavored chocolate, just doesn’t float my boat. To be fair, I’ve never been a big chocolate lover—especially dark chocolate. I’d be quite content If I had some freak accident befall me where I could never taste chocolate again. I don’t dislike it. I just don’t care about it. Chocolate is the very definition—for me—of the beloved interwebs idiom—“Meh”. I’m also not a big fan of orange. Don’t get me wrong, I like fresh oranges and OJ (Ooh! and and orange push-ups) but that’s about as far as it goes. Duck a l’orange. Nah. Orange baby aspirin. Blech. Put orange flavoring into chocolate, and I’m out. 

Here’s my current paradox: Black IPAs remind me of chocolate oranges, but I like Black IPAs.

I didn’t want to at first, but I’ve come around—In fact now I really like Black IPAs. There’s something about the mild chocolate flavor with and a punch of bright orangey citrus hops that Black IPAs bring to the party. 

Granted the whole Black IPA is a bit "2012" as far as beer trends go, and I’ve got little time for the “black isn’t pale, so these can’t be called IPA” argument (so take it elsewhere buster). But I’ve been on a bit of a Black IPA kick of late—Back in Black, Mendocino, Raven’s Black, Wookey Jack, Otter Creek, and Shmaltz’s celebratory Death of a Contract Brewer have all been given the ol’ “over the teeth, and through the gums” of late. 

Why? Again I’m going to be honest. I have no idea.

Perhaps it’s the intensity of the chocolate and orange in a chocolate orange that I don’t like. Obviously, a Back IPA isn’t going to taste like a melted candy bar. Maybe it’s because there’s other things going on in the beer. It’s not just chocolate and orange. You get a bit of roasted coffee beans with Black IPAs, and a slight tobacco earthiness, balanced with some, not only citrus but piny bitterness.They are surprisingly complex.

Either way, I’m digging them, and I suppose that’s all that matters, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Check out Saranac High Peaks Series Chocolate Orange Porter. I know you say you don't like chocolate or oranges. And I haven't had it in a couple years. . . but I remember really liking it when it first came out.

    Here's the brewery description of the beer, as per its page on

    "We start with generous amounts of chocolate malt, and then add blood orange peel. In fermentation, the finest hand-selected, purest cacao nibs are added to enhance the chocolate malt flavor. Look for a dark chocolate roasted flavor finished off with a unique surprise from blood orange peel, making this an extra special treat!"