BevMo now is like a candy store was to me 20 years ago. When I go now, I always try to walk out with something new. This time, that new beer was Menage a Singe Black IPA brewed by TiedHouse in San Jose, Calif. As you may know, I’m a massive fan of the IPA, and I’ll try almost any variation.
When I got the wine-bottle-sized beer home, the corked and caged bottle (like a bottle of champagne) should have been a clue. This bottle of beer is a gusher! Of course, I opened it while I was working … well, I had a little computer cleanup to do. That, my friends, was my fault. I should have known to open any corked and caged bottle well away from the keyboard. On a very, very, very slow pour, I still had about a 60-50 ratio of beer to foam. Yeah, I said 60-50 … the other 10 sat over the glass’ edge in a very firm, foamy head.
The color is perhaps the most interesting part of this brew. It’s almost midnight black at the thickest part of the glass. But near the bottom at the edges and when you tip the glass, you can see that reddish brown, cloudy color associated with the IPA. As for the aroma, there’s not much to talk about here. The Menage a Singe doesn’t have a faint smoke scent, but barely even a hint of hops.
Once the beer had a chance the settle, the first taste was a surprise. Let me just say, it says right on the bottle “India Pale Ale” right at the bottom. Of course, that’s below the Black IPA text. Now, a black IPA is a brew that mixed flavors that one would usually find in a porter (smoky, chocolate, coffee, pine, oak, you get the idea) with the rich hoppy flavor of the India Pale Ale. But for my taste, the Menage a Singe is a little too much porter and not enough IPA. The first thing you get when you take a sip is the smoky flavor followed immediately by the faint taste of hops that IPAs are known for. The aftertaste is all porter.
As for recommending this beer, I’d offer it to the drinker who is more likely to pick out a porter. The slight IPA flavor would do more for the porter fan. Overall, I’d grade the Menage a Singe as a solid B- with a slight deduction for the overabundance of foam.