Tasting Notes: Night Creep Black DIPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company

NightCreepPourFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we turn ourselves over to the dark side of IPAs thanks to the influence of Night Creep DIPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California).

Developed to serve as a stark contrast from the three IPAs already in Iron Fist’s Core lineup as well as in the always IPA-saturated beer scene in the San Diego area, Night Creep is a “dark and different” Black Double India Pale Ale that utilizes an “unusual” yeast strain that “[brings] a distinctive flavor to a DIPA.”  To round off the recipe, the brewing team at Iron Fist used “choice kiln roasted malt [to impart] not only blackness but a mild toast undertone” while a “blend of earthy dank hops and overtones of citrus, floral and pine hops” provide balance. Night Creep comes in at a sneaky 8.5% ABV and 70 IBUs.

Night Creep was released at the start of August as the seventh offering to come out of Iron Fist’s 2019 Small Batch Experiments Series.  This Limited Release offering is available as long as supplies last in limited-edition 12 oz. cans and on draft at Iron Fist Brewing Company’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms.

With all that background information now out of the way, what do you say we shed a little more light on Night Creep with some Tasting Notes?

Tasting Notes for Night Creep Black DIPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Appearance:  Night Creep pours a near black, incredibly dark brown in color and wears just over a finger of light tan foam. When held to direct light, the cola-like brown pushes through a bit more but the darkness maintains its grip for the most part. The beer is completely opaque, providing no hint at the level of carbonation within.  Head retention is good, falling slowly to a chunky ring that is not at all shy about its ability to coat the glass with wide bands of lace.

Aroma:  The aromatics open with a tempting presence of toasted grain and high-quality dark chocolate.  The hops then cozy up to this malt presence, enveloping it with notes of resinous pine, grapefruit, tangerine, and a mix of soft floral and herbal tones.  All of this occurs without any one note overwhelming the other. There is nothing but soft, cautious harmony here and it is glorious.

Taste: An herbaceous, dank hop presence flawlessly executes a quick strike on the palate, but it is quickly tamed by toasty, roasty malt notes, a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate and a wisp of earthiness/wood.  A delicate floral quality, a pinch of grapefruit zest, and just the right amount of pine then join forces to leave memories of old-school Double IPAs behind in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full in body with a medium carbonation, this Black DIPA has plenty of weight to it but still finishes incredibly clean.  The balance here is sneaky good, allowing hop notes to shine brightly but without too much bitterness or countering sweetness.  The 8.5% ABV is a total non-factor, allowing the experience to remain smooth and easy drinking. The aftertaste is just a touch of pine and grapefruit.

Final Thoughts:  In our experience, Black IPAs tend to read a lot like hoppy Porters.  Sure, there is a hint of that here, but Night Creep finds a way to slip away and stand apart from the other beers that share this style designation.  The hop notes are beautifully pronounced and seem to sit above its toasty, dark malts . . . but then you take a moment to think about the previous sip and realize that the bitterness is not at all aggressive yet there are also not any exaggerated levels of malty sweetness.  The balance allows the beer to subtly move beyond the questioning of “is this a Double IPA or is it a Porter?” by cooling declaring “this is what a Black IPA should be.”

Beyond that, Night Creep just might be one of the cleanest beers we have ever had.  We cannot figure out if it is due to the chosen yeast, the brewery’s approach to the hop additions, the malt bill or just a combination of all three, but each note has its time to shine and then just gracefully fades from the palate in time for the next sip.  Nothing is muddled, overwhelming or confounding.  Every note is just allowed to be distinct, clear and clean.

After reviewing everything mentioned in the previous two paragraphs, we are incredibly confident in declaring that Night Creep is easily the best Black IPA/DIPA we have had, and it should be considered a benchmark beer for the style.  It is that damn good, and you need to check it out while you still have the chance.  Prost!

 

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Iron Fist Brewing Introduces Feed Your Head DIPL as Latest Small Batch Release

Feed_Your_Head_Press_Can_01Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California) has officially announced that Feed Your Head Double IPL will drop in September as the brewery’s eighth Small Batch Experiments release in 2019.

Developed with the intention of “creating a refreshing lager, brewed in the style of a classic West Coast IPA,” Feed Your Head is a Double India Pale Lager brewed with a traditional German Pilsner yeast and IPA-level additions of Galaxy and Motueka hops. This beautiful marriage of styles results in a “refreshingly clean lager . . . with an aroma of lemon flower, a touch of earth and spice, followed by tropical citrus” notes.  Coming in at 8% ABV, the crisp yet warming Feed Your Head is meant to be “a perfect toast to the end of summer.”

“We brew Pilsners (e.g. Summer City) year round and are very familiar with our house lager yeast. We take great care of our yeast culture so it’s ready to go to work when we hand it a big beer to finish. Experimenting with fermentation temp and time allows us to dial in the flavor profile and match our hops and yeast.”

 

– Tom Garcia, Brewmaster at Iron Fist Brewing Company

Feed Your Head DIPL will hit Iron Fist Brewing Company’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms in September 2019.  This Limited Release offering will be available in limited-edition 12 oz. cans and on draft. Like all Small Batch Experiments, Feed Your Head is a taproom exclusive that will not see distribution. Prost!

Vital Information for Feed Your Head DIPL from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series; September 2019
Style – India Pale Lager
ABV – 8%
IBUs – 70
Featured Hops – Galaxy & Motueka
Yeast – German Pilsner
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms

Iron Fist Brewing Slips Into August with Limited Release of Night Creep Black DIPA

Night_Creep_Press_Can_01Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California) has officially announced that Night Creep Black DIPA will release on August 9 as the 7th installment in the brewery’s Small Batch Experiments Series.

Carefully crafted to set itself apart from the three IPAs already in Iron Fist’s Core lineup as well as in the always IPA-saturated beer scene in the San Diego area, Night Creep is a “dark and different” Black Double India Pale Ale that utilizes an “unusual” yeast strain that “[brings] a distinctive flavor to a DIPA.”  To round off the recipe, the brewing team at Iron Fist used “choice kiln roasted malt [to impart] not only blackness but a mild toast undertone” while a “blend of earthy dank hops and overtones of citrus, floral and pine hops” provide balance. Night Creep comes in at a sneaky 8.5% ABV and 70 IBUs.

“Many DIPA’s have a very perceivable high ABV, so the alcohol comes in quite hot. With Night Creep we set out to create a DIPA that is full bodied, drinkable, that pushes the boundaries of the style without crossing into Stout territory.”

– Tom Garcia, Iron Fist Brewmaster

Night Creep will officially debut on Friday, August 9 in Iron Fist Brewing Company’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms.  This Limited Release offering will be available in limited-edition 12 oz. cans and on draft. Like all Small Batch Experiments, Night Creep is a taproom exclusive that will not see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for Night Creep Black DIPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series; August 9, 2019
Style – Black Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 8.5%
IBUs – 70
Fun Fact – On the inspiration behind Night Creep: ““I suppose the starting point was all the Sabbath we’ve been playing in the tap room. We knew that we had a DIPA in the schedule and we all just felt inspired by Ozzy. This one needed to be a little bit dark and different.” – Tom Garcia, Iron Fist Brewmaster
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms

Iron Fist Brewing Continues Small Batch Series with July Release of Catalina’s Revenge APA

IronFistLogoIron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California) has officially announced that Catalina’s Revenge, a West Coast-style American Pale Ale, will surface on July 12 as the brewery’s sixth Small Batch Experiment release of 2019.

Designed to be Iron Fist’s “homage to a California classic”, Catalina’s Revenge is a West Coast Pale Ale “brewed with crystal dark malts, Magnum for bittering and Citra for aroma and whirlpool.” To fully embrace that OG West Coast-style, this Pale Ale was “brewed using the traditional infusion method” and “was not dry hopped.” Still “hop-forward” by nature, Catalina’s Revenge (6.9% ABV, 45 IBUs) sources an enhanced hop aroma through several additions of Citra hops at “different intervals” while the beer’s “bitterness [is] balanced with malty caramel undertones.”

“It really goes to bat for team Pale Ale rather than team IPA.” says Tom Garcia, Brewmaster at Iron Fist Brewing Company. “A great summer beer and it was a great opportunity to use Citra Hops in a slightly malty beer to create a unique flavor profile. Sometimes you just need to make beer flavored beer. Straight to the point, hops, water, barley, yeast. We are very excited to make a classic pale ale with a few new interpretations. Cheers to real beer.”

Catalina’s Revenge will officially debut on Friday, July 12 in Iron Fist Brewing Company’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms.  This Limited Release offering will be available in limited-edition 12 oz. cans and on draft. Like all Small Batch Experiments, Catalina’s Revenge is a taproom exclusive that will not see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for Catalina’s Revenge from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series; July 2019
Style – American Pale Ale
ABV – 6.9%
IBUs – 45
Hops – Magnum & Citra
Fun Fact – On the Small Batch Experiments Series: “This category serves as the brewer’s experimental playground; a space that allows the brewmaster to test out new techniques and flavor combinations that continue to push boundaries and get a little weird. With a new beer released monthly, each will be available exclusively in limited release draft exclusively at Iron Fist Taprooms, Petco and selected events with a limited release of 500 cans for take away customers.”
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms

Catalinas_Revenge_Press_Can_01

Celeste Saison Next Up in Iron Fist Brewing’s Small Batch Series

Celeste_Press_Can_01Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California) has officially announced that Celeste Saison will arrive in June as the fifth release in its series of 2019 Small Batch Experiments.

Meticulously crafted ” using traditional Belgian methods, with a touch of celestial magic and perfected for the California sunshine”, Celeste is a Belgian-style Saison that “balances malty and tart notes with aromas of citrus, light clove, banana, and a hint of bubble gum.”  Light in body with a “lively carbonation” and a “crisp, dry finish”, Celeste (5% ABV) is a “deeply refreshing” summertime brew that highlights bright notes of “lemon and white pepper.”

“We brewed Celeste as a Belgian style Saison in anticipation for Summer and all the good times that follow. After the primary fermentation, we let Celeste free rise (warm up) to 78F. This process allows more complex flavors to develop and mature. We used a great deal of patience to allow Celeste to rise up to her full potential. Our secret ingredient, time. Most Saisons will ferment 95% in the 1st week; however, the last 5% takes the watchful eye of a brewer anticipating the beer’s full potential. We’re super pleased with the results and can guarantee you, Celeste was worth the wait!”

 

– Tom Garcia, Iron Fist Brewmaster

Celeste began pouring on draft on May 31 and a limited-edition run of 500 12 oz. cans will follow shortly after that date.  This Small Batch offering will be available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms.  Outside of special events, Celeste is not expected to see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for Celeste Saison from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series; June 2019
Style – Saison
ABV – 5%
IBUs – 15
Fun Fact – On the history of the Saison style: “Recalling history, the Saison style of beer dates back to the 1700’s. As part of the Farmhouse Ale category, and because of their historically long shelf life, these beers were originally brewed in Winter so they were ready to quench the thirst of les saisonniers (seasonal laborers), who would be toiling under the hot sun come harvest time. Typically varying from region to region, the Saison is meant to truly embrace the local climate and native ingredients.”
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms

Iron Fist Brewing Enters May with Small Batch Release of Sol del Barrio Mexican Lager

SDB_Press_Image_01Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California) has officially announced that it will recognize Cinco de Mayo with the fourth release in its Small Batch Experiments Series, Sol del Barrio Mexican Lager.

Inspired by a Tom Garcia’s – Brewmaster at Iron Fist – recent “beer exploration trip to Tijuana, Mexico”, Sol del Barrio is a Mexican-style Lager that takes its “cue from [Mexico’s] European side of influence . . . and casts aside any preconceptions of a pale liquid and slice of lime.”  To prove that it is “truly a testament to the diversity of Mexican Lagers”, Sol del Barrio (5.5% ABV) “pours clear and copper with a touch of red hue” and offers its drinker “a touch of malty sweetness, followed by a pleasant breadyness and a low bitter finish with Nobel hop overtones.”

“Mexican Lagers all really had such variation. The color, the flavor, it seemed there were lots of perspectives and strands forming the idea of Mexican Lager. We could get beers ranging from pale straw to deep amber in color with flavor profiles ranging from a classic pilsner to a bold, malty full bodied lager.

 

Family, friends, food, and a few delicious Mexican Lagers meant all was well in the world. I can still remember eating Nopales (cactus) and fish tacos, something I try to replicate as often as possible at home in California. Our Mexican lager is basically a tribute to the beautiful beers being made just south of the border. I’m very excited to have brewed a 12oz vacation! Now all I need is a plate of tacos.”

 

– Tom Garcia, Brewmaster at Iron Fist Brewing Company, reflecting on his trip Tijuana, Mexico and the inspiration behind Sol del Barrio

A sneak peek of Sol del Barrio will take place at the Padres Beerfest at Petco Park on May 3. The official draft release of Sol del Barrio will begin on Saturday, May 4 and a limited-edition run of 500 12 oz. cans “will be announced shortly thereafter, via Iron Fist’s social media channels.” This Small Batch offering will be available “exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms, with a small amount pouring at the Iron Fist SuperCart at Petco Park.” Prost!

Vital Information for Sol del Barrio from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series, May 2019
Style – Mexican-style Lager
ABV – 5.5%
IBUs – 22
Fun Fact – On the brewing history of Mexico: “After the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821, German and Austrian immigrants, then from the Austro-Hungarian Empire allegedly began emigrating in droves to what is today Texas, but was then Mexico, bringing with them a rich old European tradition of brewing, unknown to Mexico. While the history of Mexican Lager has meandered since, this older European influence brought with it techniques that still survive in small, independent amounts today.”
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms

 

Hazy Hippie Trail IPA Slated to be Iron Fist Brewing’s April Small Batch Release

03.14_HHT_Press_Image_01Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California) has officially announced that Hazy Hippie Trail Hazy IPA will officially release on April 5 as installment No. 3 in the brewery’s series of Small Batch Experiments.

Acting as Iron Fist’s “entry into the much loved world of hazy brews”, Hazy Hippie Trail is a Hazy/Juicy India Pale Ale “brewed with absurd amounts of Citra and Amarillo hops.” This hop bill produces an “aroma of citrus, floral hops, and pineapple juice” and “big, bold flavors of herbal dank hop flowers, bitter melon rind and stone-fruit.” Despite weighing in at 6.5% ABV, Hazy Hippie Trail remains “highly drinkable” and is “rounded by a full body and moderate bitterness.”

“Hazy IPAs feel almost fad-like in the market right now, so as with all fads we thought it better to relax a little and wait to jump on the bandwagon. We wanted to develop something that represented how we brew rather than being first to the market. The vision here was to brew a quality Hazy beer. The theory with Haze is that protein and yeast haze will hold on to the hop flavors and release them with a bang; mouth feel is increased, and the drinker has a full bodied hop experience. Though, the problem with this approach is that it can allow the Hop/Haze to cover up bad brewing techniques. In the case of HHT, we made a moderately hazy beer that gets most of its haze from protein (AKA chill haze). We chose a yeast that would settle out and leave room for the massive amount of hops we used and then un-muddled the beer of yeast, creating a deliciously clean Hazy profile. Kind of sophisticated Hippie, I guess. The ultimate chill-out beer.”

– Tom Garcia, Brewmaster at Iron Fist Brewing Company

A sneak peek of Hazy Hippie Trail will take place at Petco Park during Padres Opening Day on March 28.  The official draft release of Hazy Hippie Trail will begin on April 5 and a limited-edition run of 500 cans (12 oz.) “will be announced shortly thereafter, via Iron Fist’s social media channels.”  This Small Batch offering will be available “exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms, with a small amount pouring at the Iron Fist SuperCart at Petco Park.”  Prost!

Vital Information for Hazy Hippie Trail from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series; April 5, 2019
Style – Hazy/Juicy India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.5%
IBUs – 60
Featured Hops – Citra & Amarillo
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms

Iron Fist Brewing Introduces Cheap Suit as Newest Small Batch Experiment

Iron Fist Brewing (Vista, California) has officially announced that Cheap Suit Brown Ale will serve as the March release in its Small Batch Experiments Series.

Releasing as the second installment in Iron Fist’s newly-established Small Batch Experiments Series (preceded by the February release of Fresh Perspective IPL), Cheap Suit is a Golden Brown Ale that has been hopped with EKG and hit with an addition of tart cherries.  Far from what you would expect to get “from your traditional Brown English Ale”, this take on the Brown Ale style “boasts flavors of roasted malt with dried fruit overtones, and earthy hop notes.”  Weighing in at 5.2% ABV and 30 IBUs, Cheap Suit supplies its drinker with an experience that is “medium bodied, with a dry finish and full
carbonation.”

“If this beer could talk… it would say, ‘take a seat my friend and get cozy. Let’s
watch the rain fall, the grass grow, and take in the day.’ The addition of tart cherries adds a bit of intrigue to the conversation, keeping it bright and adding a bit of wow.”

 

– Tom Garcia, Brewmaster at Iron Fist Brewing

Cheap Suit officially started pouring on draft at both Iron Fist Tap Room locations – Brewery & Tap Room in Vista, California | Barrio Logan Tap Room in San Diego, California – on March 8 and a limited-edition run of 500 12 oz. cans is expected to release any day now (keep an eye on Iron Fist’s Facebook page for release updates).  Like all releases in the Small Batch Experiments Series, Cheap Suit will be available exclusively in the brewery’s taprooms and will not see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for Cheap Suit from Iron Fist Brewing

Release – Limited/Small Batch Experiments Series; March 8, 2019
Style – Brown Ale
ABV – 5.2%
IBUs – 30
Featured Hops – EKG
Added Ingredients – Tart cherries 
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – None. Available exclusively in Iron Fist’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms