Vermont’s Lawson’s Finest Liquids recently released its first black IPA, Big Poppy, which is made with five hop varieties and seven malts — all of them apparently well-roasted into dankness. Black IPAs can be a curious undertaking, and this beer is no exception. Heavily blackened with notes of coffee grounds and burnt toast, it at first seems a bit hoary — but then the piney elements muscle their way in and brighten things up, tempering the coffee and dark chocolate notes with elements of fresh evergreen and a touch of maple. Hints of turned earth keep the finish a bit brooding, but as the weather turns colder, there’s nothing wrong with that.
A- / $18 per 16 oz. four-pack / lawsonsfinest.com