We have all made it through the work week, another successful St. Patrick’s Day is in the books, and now it is officially time to close out the week with a segment of Tasting Notes covering Blackboard Agave India Pale Ale with Grapefruit from Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania).
I believe it was back in January that I first brought you all news about Blackboard Agave IPA with Grapefruit, the first offering in the new Blackboard Series from Victory Brewing that takes a farm-to-table approach by creating “off menu” craft beer offerings with interesting ingredients that will challenge and delight the palates of the brewery’s fans. True to its name, Agave IPA with Grapefruit has been “touched with agave syrup and grapefruit juice” to complement and accentuate a carefully selected hop bill boasting Simcoe, Citra, Centennial and Cascade varietals. The final product comes together as a juicy and refreshing IPA offering weighing it at 7.0% ABV. You can track this offering down through the month of March in Alabama and throughout Victory’s distribution footprint. Look for this limited release on draft and in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles for the suggested retail price of $9.99 (price may vary by location). Now that those details are out of the way, let’s break out some fancy glassware and get to some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Blackboard Agave IPA with Grapefruit from Victory Brewing Company
Appearance: Blackboard Agave IPA with Grapefruit pours a vibrant golden yellow that absolutely radiates in direct light. The body is crystal clear with a lively carbonation presence that is steadily feeding the hearty three fingers of pristine white foam capping the beer. Head retention is nice, and it has a ton of stickiness to it. Lace spots the glass throughout, but some streaks do slip slowly back into the top cap thanks to a clear but oily slick that stealthily coats the glass. This is definitely a fantastic looking IPA.
Aroma: Tropical fruit sweetness and plenty of citrus greet the nose as soon as the cap is popped, and those notes absolutely billow from the glass once poured. The agave is large in presence here with that familiar sweetness you expect from it but can’t exactly put your finger on to identify (you know . . .since agave is not exactly a commonly used or familiar ingredient in daily life for most). Grapefruit rind and ruby red meatiness move in and complement nicely. A touch of lime pokes through and is joined by notes of tangerine, mango, light pine, and floral notes. Although it has those sweet qualities, it appears that they are all coming from the agave and tropical fruit notes from the hops. I am finding it more and more difficult to keep my nose out of this glass. Lovely.
Taste: I honestly hate to go here with a stereotypical descriptor, but Blackboard Agave IPA with Grapefruit starts with margarita-like qualities thanks to an abundance of agave sweetness that is accompanied by lemon and lime juice/rind. The hops quickly snap me back to the wonderful land of IPAs with tropical notes of mango, melon, orange and pineapple. Grapefruit then takes over for the finish with plenty or tartness, bitterness and ruby red sweetness. Although there are those bitter and tart qualities in this beer, the agave brings everything together by taming with just the right push of sweetness. This brew properly represents its name in flavor and it does so in a mighty fine way.
Mouthfeel: Surprisingly, this IPA offering is on the lighter side of medium in body with an almost spritzy carbonation to it. The 7.0% ABV is completely hidden, and that keeps this beer insanely easy drinking, refreshing and quenching. Each sip makes you feel that the hop oils are going to be overly sticky or resinous, but suddenly this brew dries up quickly with little to no lingering qualities. The beer is simultaneously sweet, bitter and tart on the palate. What little aftertaste is present is all grapefruit goodness. This offering is very complex in this category and easily appreciated.
Final Thoughts: Blackboard Agave IPA with Grapefruit makes good on all the promises made by the name and label. I have to be honest that I was not expecting the agave to be as present as it is, but Victory captured and effortlessly displayed the essence of the ingredient in both flavor and aroma. The added grapefruit does its share of heavy lifting as well, but it does not overpower and beautifully supports the hops and agave notes. Oddly (and I feel really weird saying this), the mouthfeel is probably the most impressive aspect of this beer due to it being crazy complex. That said, this brew certainly did not slouch in any way and it is certainly a must try for lovers of hops and/or citrus fruits. Get your hands on some while you still can because this limited offering is sure to disappear from shelves and taps with a quickness. Prost!