Let me provide you with a quick history of India Pale Ales:
- Originally developed in the late 1700's.
- British breweries would send beer on boats to their troops & British expatriots in India.
- However, due to a lack of refrigeration and lengthy ocean voyages (took closely five months), the beer arrived in an unfavorable condition.
- The brewers back then knew both hops (where we get the bitterness in beer) and alcohol act as natural preservatives.
- So, they came up with a brew that was very hopped and high in alcohol --- thus creating the "India Pale Ale."
However, I was swayed to try this one by the "black" associated with this version of an IPA, as I do enjoy darker beer. Plus, Otter Creek is a micro-brewery in Middlebury, Vermont (for more information on the brewery, refer to Mom's Malt Barley Resources) & with all of these snow storms, currently, and in the recent weeks, I had a desire to stay in the Northeast, particularly New England, and fill my pint glasses with tasty winter beers. Interestingly, while this beer is considered a winter seasonal brew, it first debuted this past July in Burlington, Vermont at the state's brewers festival as a small pilot batch. Yet, it was so well received that Otter Creek decided to release it has their official Winter Seasonal beer this year and I'm so glad they did!
Overall, when paired with tangy slow-cooked bbq ribs & cornbread, I really enjoyed this beer.
Psychologically, the brew completed a perfect winter's weekend night, when you sit bundled up by the fire, in long johns, exhausted by the frigid cold yet secretly excited for the next storm.
Taste: a deep rich hoppy almost citrusy aroma yet left a malty-mocha toasty finish in your mouth
Color: imagine walking in the Alpine white snowy woods & spotting a beautiful, dark chocolate, brown bear in your path...now imagine that color in your pint glass
Thickness: after a few deep sips, it felt silky smooth with a medium body and a decent head of white
Will It Help Me Sleep Better? I wanted to hibernate after consuming one bottle which has a 6% ABV
Mom Factoid: My "brown bear" reference to the beer's color, reminds me of the children's author, Eric Carle, and his wonderful books! I have read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" hundreds of times to the little duo! Ssh, I will tell you, there is a 'Red Bird looking at me'!
For a complete list of Carle's work, refer to this website: