The Brew Kettle out of Strongsville, Ohio is not a brewery to be taken lightly. One of only a few Ohio breweries, with a customer brew system on premise and a large portfolio of beers, covering a wide range of all types of beer styles. Making this company one of great interest.
Their brew on premise system stays heavily scheduled and is known locally for producing many great beers, a few of which I have had the pleasure of drinking. So, if you want a piece of that action you have to book early, or be open to fill a spot if one comes open, due to a cancellation. Well enough waxing poetic about this fine Ohio establishment, onto the beer.
Black Raja pours pitch black, with a medium tan head that persists for several minutes. The first smell after poured gives a nice, light floral, and citrus forward aroma. First sip meets you with good levels of tropical fruit and a nice bitter bite, followed by a mild roasted biscuit and light coffee flavor. As you continue to savor this beer in your glass, you notice the nice medium body, more pronounced citrus and fruit flavors and a bit more coffee taste. It quickly fades from something you would take as a heavy, and largely roasted, stout or porter style beer and becomes an IPA, with some very complex and intricate malt notes that are mixed in with a balance of citrus, tropical fruit, and light American floral hop flavors. Then along with the occasional wave of hoppy bitterness, which is a welcoming sensation!
I love this beer because if you served it to someone with their eyes closed, they would always say it tastes like a really interesting IPA. Then when seeing it he/she would be shocked by the dark color they will see. I find it to be a great beer for any time of year and an excellent beer to mix in with the White Rajah IPA in a drinking session.
At 6.8% ABV and 70 IBU this beer is truly sessionable and mixes well with spicy foods and BBQ, Asian foods, burgers, or is just great to drink and enjoy on its own. If you have ever passed on this great brew, give it a go and enjoy the intriguing mix of dark malts, Citra and Simcoe, then you will thank me and the TBK team that you did!
Cheers to great beers, be sure and drink you Sommbeer today!