6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa
Hoppy beers are not new territory for Green Flash Brewing Company. The Mira Mesa-based operation has been dealing in lupulin-rich ales ever since brewmaster Chuck Silva came aboard, and have never looked back. Quite the contrary, last year, Silva and company looked forward, daring to expand on its bitter, piney niche by crafting a half-dozen hop-centric beers that included a sessionable Citra-hopped IPA, an imperial red rye IPA, and a rebrew of an India pale ale built to represent San Diego County during the 2008 Craft Brewers Conference, Symposium IPA. Each of these beers were released two months apart over the course of 2013.
The first of those special editions from that series, Green Flash Black IPA, has been brewed again and is once again on sale in bottles and on tap at the company’s tasting room. It’s worth seeking out, particularly for IPA lovers who claim this black (or “Cascadian dark” if you believe in adopting lingo designed for the sole purpose of advertising the Pacific Northwest) version is an abomination. With an inviting aroma that smells like taking a whiff of a pint glass filled with freshly shorn pine needles, it smells like any golden or orangey IPA. And though when it hits the tongue, a mild roast is the first thing taste buds pick up, an abundance of foresty freshness and an assertive bitterness takeover, leading to a super dry finish that leaves only pleasant resin on the back palate.
While other black IPAs may exhibit a bit more balance between hops and dark malts, this is the most West Coast-style black IPA being produced in San Diego today — 90% hop pine and bitterness with just a faint touch of chocolate to diversify a beer I’d be happy to see available all year long.