Just as the sun goes from bright to black today, so do some of the beer styles we love. Brewers’ experimentations with new ingredients and techniques inevitably lead them to some strange places and can take traditionally sunny styles in stygian directions. Here are three that have a little more staying power than your average eclipse.
Classic goses are brewed with pilsner and wheat malt, which lend a slightly cloudy, golden appearance. The black gose swaps a percentage of these pale grains for darker ingredients such as chocolate malt or roasted barley, which impart subtle toasty flavors to accent the coriander, salt and acidic snap common in traditional versions of the style.
Four to try: Bhramari Molly’s Lips, Finback The Sun Is Too Bright, Stillwater/Siren When the Light Gose Out, Front Range Kilauea
To see a saison turn to the dark side is somewhat like watching a star burn out; to us, it is the quintessential summer style, as dry and thirst-quenching as it is lively and bright. But blackened versions can have their appeal, as the hints of espresso and dark chocolate imparted by the dark malts provide intriguing notes when paired with the base style’s peppery, pearlike yeast flavors.
Four to try: Three Magnets Sleeveless, Monday Night Dad Bod, Pale Fire Rorschach, Victory Selene
The original bright-beer-gone-black, the black IPA goes by many names, including the regionally focused Cascadian Dark Ale and the super-confusing American Black Ale. Call it what you want; the style pits bold hop flavor and bitterness against roasted malt notes that range from sugary chocolate squares to smoky charred meat.
Four to try: 21st Amendment Back in Black, Odell Mountain Standard, Surly Damien, Idle Vine The Wanderer