Brew Review

Beer Review – Karl Strauss Brewing Company Blackball Belgian IPA


Karl Strauss Nov 2014

While away in LA for Jersey Week, my better half, the urchins and I ventured over to Universal Studios. After conquering the park, the urchins were their ravenous selves and in need of feeding. After reviewing a few menus, we chose the Karl Strauss Brewing Company on the Universal CityWalk. We had been to the Karl Strauss in San Diego in 2011; so, we were familiar with the fare and more importantly, I knew that I could squeeze in a quick tasting.  The first thing I noticed about the sampler was that it has been cut back from six to four. I suppose that was a good idea as four 4oz samples of varying high test brews is a better idea than six. I also noticed that I could pick any four. In the prior sample, I received four of the “regular” line-up and then two “wild card” picks. For my four samples, I picked the Pintail Pale Ale, the Blackball Belgian IPA, the Peanut Butter Cup Porter (more for my better half than me) and the Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. This is a review of the Blackball Belgian IPA. This is an award winning Belgian IPA, a sort of hybrid between an IPA and a Belgian Tripel.

What they say…

When checkered blackball flags dot the California coastline, experienced surfers migrate to advanced breaks where strangers to the sport dare not. Blackball is a Belgian-inspired India Pale Ale with a robust West Coast hop profile. Belgian ale yeast, coriander, and Curacao lend a fruity and spicy character for an ale bolder than your average IPA. A blend of New Zealand and Cascade hops add a vibrant floral aroma and clean citrus hop bitterness that lingers through its crisp, dry finish. Drink up while it’s young, heavily hopped IPA’s are best enjoyed fresh.

I found the Blackball Belgian IPA to have the following characteristics…

  • Appearance: Almost amber; a little cloudy with good lacing.
  • Aroma: Spicy with a sort of meat quality and then come coriander and a little sugar.
  • Taste: Not a lot of carbonation with a great balance of flavors. A little on the Saison side with a nice infusion of hops.
  • ABV: 5.6%

Not my favorite style of beer as it is a little too much on the Farmhouse Saison side for my taste. But, the quality of the production effort overtakes my like of the style. This was a very interesting blend of two great styles of beer. If you like Belgians, you would love this beer.

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