The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Sunday, Oct. 4, 6:03 p.m.
Style & Culture

The Hop Report: Black Bear Brewery celebrates Bad Omen Black IPA

Bad Omens mean good things for Tim Gallon, head brewer of Black Bear Brewing Company. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 — at 7:13 p.m. — Galloncelebrated the release of Bad Omen Black IPA, the brewery’s newest brew, with live music by guitarist Eric Green, special deals and thirsty attendees.

Brewed in the style of American Black Ale — also known as Cascadian Dark Ale, depending on geography and preference — Bad Omen is a dark colored beer with a light body and pronounced cascade hop finish. The addition of dark roasted malts gives the beer a hint of coffee and dark chocolate notes, but the roasted notes are lighter and more up front. Generous helpings of American hops give it that noticeably bitter, IPA-like finish. With an alcohol content of 7.7 percent by volume, Bad Omen isn’t as heavy as a porter or stout, but can live up to its name if some caution isn’t exercised.

“Anyone who ordered one had to try another one,” Gallon said.

Blues riffs and standards were supplied by slide guitarist Eric Green, who played solo, at one point even modifying the lyrics of a song to “Bad Omen Blues” to reflect the special event.

In regard to dark, hoppy beers, a debate continues to flare up among beer aficionados about the true origins of the style of Black IPA. On this side of the Atlantic, the credit is often given to pioneering American microbrewers. Back in the United Kingdom, old ale recipes are often referenced as the source of this remarkably versatile beer.

In either case, because it blends and balances the bitterness of hops and the dark flavors of roasted barley so well, American Black Ales have become popular in breweries across the country. They pair well with a variety of foods, from spicy to savory. Several enterprising patrons came up with their own pairings Wednesday night, by ordering takeout from The Family Dog to enjoy with their pints.

Tim Gallon hopes to see Bad Omen go on tap wherever Black Bear Brewing Company beers are served. But a sample at the taproom, and perhaps a growler to take home, should cure some of those winter blues, or at least make you feel lucky.