21st Amendment

Beer Review – 21st Amendment Brewery Back In Black Black IPA


I am slowly working my way through the latest PBS documentary by Ken Burns called Prohibition. This three part documentary that covers the history of the Temperance Movement in the USA clocks in at just under 6 hours. I’m half way through part three and am enjoying it immensely. If I were alive back then, I would have definitely sided with the scofflaws and been a bootlegger. I am Sicilian afterall.

Prohibition in the United States started with the passing of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on January 16, 1919, and ended with the passing of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution on December 5, 1933. In honor of this fine documentary (and of course, the passing of the Amendment that makes blogging about beer and booze perfectly legal!), I thought I would review the Back in Black Black IPA by San Francisco, California based brewery 21st Amendment. Here is why they chose the name 21st Amendment:

For 13 years, social interaction was largely driven underground, to the speakeasies, where regular citizens became a nation of outlaws. But with the passage of the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, we, as a society, were able to begin the slow climb back to reclaiming the essence of the neighborhood gathering place. At the 21st Amendment, they celebrate the culture of the great breweries of old, making unique, hand crafted beers, great food, and providing a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that invites conversation, interaction and a sense of community.

And here is what 21st Amendment has to say about their Back in Black Black IPA:

Inspired by Paul Revere’s midnight ride, we rebelled against the British style IPA, embraced the more aggressive American version and then recast it in bold, brave, defiant black. Our Black IPA is a Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of the expected.

Back in Black is our newest year-round beer available now in six pack cans and on draft. Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich, dark malts, this beer has all the flavor and hop character you expect with a smooth, mellow finish.

And now for the review…

  • Appearance: Deep mahogany color. Dark red tint at the edges when held up to the light. Thick, creamy, one inch head that dissipated slowly.
  • Aroma: Bittersweet chocolate. Espresso. Grapefruit zest. Piney hops.
  • Taste: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Starts off with rich, roasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate flavors. A bit of hop bitterness creeps in around the middle and leads you to a pleasant, bitter, yet malt sweetness backed finish.
  • ABV: 6.8%

We’ve had the 21st Amendment Back in Black on numerous occasions this past summer and it has yet to disappoint. This is a smooth, well balanced, and session worthy beer.  Take your favorite IPA, marry it to your favorite Porter, and you’ll get the Back in Black Black IPA. If this beer were a song, it would be “The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll”. I love this beer! Give it a try and tell us what you think.

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