Shebeen Black Hop IPA
12 ounce can, $1.99++, 6.8% ABV
Purchased at Harvest, West Hartford
Bloodaxe* made his way to the top of the cold, shiny aluminum can, unseen.
His mission was clear. Conquer another Shebeen beer, crush it, review it, and escape unscathed. This would be routine – or as routine as Shebeen beer reviews could be. He’d done it before, and he’d conquered more difficult missions without too much damage to his person.
Cucumber Wasabi ale? Mission complete.
Bacon Kona Stout? Mission complete.
Pumpkin Scotch Ale? Mission complete with minor injury.
Cannoli Beer? Mission complete, but suffered a wound.
A black IPA would be easy. At least that’s what Bloodaxe’s masters told him. And besides, By wielding the Executioner’s enchanted Asgardian axe, its wielder is transformed into the superhuman Bloodaxe – no frothy elixir made for Connecticut’s mortals could stop him.
But he was not prepared for the froth. This was some serious, serious froth.
Froth that was not planned for, nor ever encountered before. Not on earth or in Asgard. But Bloodaxe had a mission, and he would see it through; he had no choice. An evil super villain doesn’t do black ops by accident – he earns such missions.
Bloodaxe peered into the dusky foam below and plotted his next move. “Ayr,” he muttered, “What mortal mind created this brew? By the hammer of Thor, how will I ever conquer this? And what in Odin’s name is it?
Our blackest beer made with special blackened grains. This Cascadian Style IPA is balanced with sweetness, hop bitterness and aroma.
“Cascadian style?” thought Bloodaxe. That sounds rather Asgardian. This can’t be too bad.
Despite his massive size, he displayed a deft nimbleness only found on the pages of Marvel comic books. Like a panther, he jumped from the can to the rim of the glass.
A slip! “Curses of Thor!” Bloodaxe was mired in the thick Froth of the Shebeenster!
As he began to sink into the boozy quicksand, he tasted the bubbles. “This is not the mead I’m used to,” he grumbled. “Malty and bitter! This mortal mead they call beer is so different!”
Indeed. For Bloodaxe was being swallowed up by Shebeen’s Black Hop IPA. Said to be made from “blackened grains,” something heretofore unknown to Asgard, nor to your humble narrator. What does that even mean? Was this something Thor and Odin concocted to be Bloodaxe’s demise?
The beer, as mortals call it, was bitter and tinny. The hops were present, but so were the malts, aka, “blackened grains,” I guess. The elixir went down smoothly, and the slightly higher alcohol content was undetectable in the brew. This stuff wasn’t that bad.
Though Bloodaxe had other thoughts. “This stuff is the nectar of the Gods!” (And since Bloodaxe is the enemy of Thor, that wasn’t a compliment.) It was killing him, and he knew it. He chopped at the glass only to find it was made of the hardest glass known to mortal man. “This is no fancy brewery stemware! This is an old school chalice of magical constitution!”
The final tasting notes on this beer were that it seems like breweries slap on “black IPA” all sorts of different beers. “Cascadian” is a nice buzzword for such beers. I have no issue with this, as when I drink a black IPA I expect more or less a deep, dark, 50/50 balance of hops and grain with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
Shebeen delivered all that here, but I think there was something amiss with the process. It was a bit too coppery and metallic, and lost focus on the balance of ingredients. Still, for Shebeen, it was pretty good.
Overall Rating: B+
Rating vs. Similar style: B-