Blue Point Brewing Co. – Toxic Sludge Black IPA

I bought this bottle on a whim a couple of month ago.  I haven’t really had a whole bunch of different Blue Point beers; however, they do seem to be showing up more and more now that I had this one.  I actually initially bought this one because of the Stone 15 year Black IPA.  It was just so good that I really wanted to find another great example of a black ipa. Then my supplies built up, and there were other beers that jumped in front of this one for tasting.  Last Friday night it came down to two beers.  I was either going to open this one or the Dogfish Peal Jam beer.  Ultimately it was the decision of taste that I decided to go with.  I wanted to have some with a lot of character to it, and I didn’t trust the Dogfish beer would have it.

This particular beer has a much different purpose behind it.  Blue Point is one of the few brewers I know of that is located specifically on Long Island.  Doing some very slight research, it seems like there really is only one other bigger craft brewer that is actually located on Long Island.  That however really isn’t the interesting part.  Apparently this particular brew is was being sold as a benefit for birds.  Yes that very odd picture on the label is of a bird they want to save.  Apparently it was brewed as a means of saving the birds affected by the 2010 BP Gulf oil spill.  Call me ignorant, but I didn’t realize birds in the area of NY were affected by an oil spill in the Gulf.

This isn’t the actual first taste of the beer I’ve had.  When traveling to Pittsburg the other month, we were eating at a mexican restaurant that had a really good beer supply.  Aside from getting the Avery – Czar Imperial Oktoberfest, I also got a pint of this.  While enjoying it there, I actually was more looking forward to this bottle.  I made the mistake of getting a black ipa with a spicy burrito the first time I had it.  Probably not my wisest choice.

This one pours out an extremely dark black “sludgy” color.  Yeah I had to throw that word in there to complement the actual name of the beer.  There is some very nice white fluffy head that develops on the pour.  This doesn’t exactly last a long time, but it doesn’t dissipate all that quickly either.  There is some huge lacing that exists on the glass, which manages to last well throughout most of the tasting.  There beer is far to dark to really see if it has a hazy aspect to it, but holding the beer up to the light does allow you to see the visible carbonation in it.

The hops seem to conquer the coffee aspect here on the smell, but both aspects come out huge as you take in the aroma.  The piney earthy tone to the hops really stick out and almost burn the nose.  Conversely, there is some slight caramel sweetness that you can pick up once you conquer the hops.  The coffee aspect is there throughout; however, unlike a porter or stout, it isn’t really all that rich on the nose.  There is some fairly prominent roasted notes that prevail here as well.

The taste does come in with a little bit of the sweet malty flavor, but that is quickly brought to an abrupt halt by the huge hop flavors that dominate the smell.  The hops hit you right in the back of the throat and lingers there for a little while.  These hops are then met by the mellow coffee flavor just as they reach their most bitter point.  The coffee flavor is very prominent in the taste, but it doesn’t manage to be too overpowering.  As you enter the aftertaste, the roasted flavors come in very strong to give you a very smooth roasted coffee finish with a slight touch of hops.

There is a ton of carbonation on the mouth here, but I find it rather welcoming.  There are some really bold flavors including the piney hops.  This helps to keep the very brisk nature of the beer up.  What better to wake you up than some hops and coffee.  There is a little bit of the syrupy quality on the finish, but by that time it is actually a little nice to mellow out some of the harsher qualities of the hops and coffee.  The roasted aftertaste is a really pleasant finish to a really good beer.

I don’t think this is my favorite black ipa, but it is a really good beer.  I would definitely pick up a bottle of this again if I saw it around.  So, do yourself a favor, and pick up a bottle of this fine beer.  I’m not sure if it is still available anywhere, but if you like hops and coffee, you’ll like it for sure.  Just don’t drink it with a spicy burrito!

Teacher Grade: B+


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