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Blue Point Toxic Sludge

June 24, 2011

Blue Point automatically gains adoration from me for being the closest brewery to where I grew up. It is probably the most famous Long Island brewery, and unlike Southampton if you can see signs for them at your bar there’s a good chance that you’ll actually be able to obtain one of their beers. Their flagship Toasted Lager was just starting to gain steam in my high school years, and had definitely exploded across the region by the time I was going through college, and the prominence is certainly not poorly placed. Blue Point is a solid brewery, which produces several good beers from their year-round Toasted Lager to their ever elusive but always delicious Sour Black Cherry Stout. The past few nights I’ve been able to delight myself with their Toxic Sludge, a black IPA.

I have been intrigued by Black IPAs since the first time I heard about them. As a fan of darker beers, and an American who is iffy on the whole “more hops = better” notion that has swept through our nation’s craft brewing associations, the idea of a dark IPA is interesting in the least and delicious at best. The basic aim seems to be the idea to balance the hop strength and bitterness with other complimentary flavors such as chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee. This creates something that shares a fraternal bond with the Avery New World Porter, a porter with hop hints.

The Blue Point Toxic Sludge poured a nice deep black color with delightful ruby hues and a light white head. The scent was one of roasted malt and hops, the hop scent being more on the spicy side than the floral. The mouthfeel was something that was a step or two above the thickness of water. Not so thick that you end up chewing it, but thick enough that it feels almost velvety, yet still not smooth enough to earn that moniker.

The taste is a peculiar phenomenon. The majority of it tastes of a combination of sweet roasted malt with some hop notes thrown in. The hops provide a moderate spice to the beer that makes it particularly noteworthy, and this hop flavor comes out even more when you breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Aftertaste is where this beer shines through, providing a particularly complex aftertaste of dark chocolate, coffee, and hop bitterness, as well as a citrus flavor that a friend claimed was present though I did not detect. When you parse out the after tastes you become smitten with this brew, though sometimes the bitterness can be almost too much.

The Blue Point Toxic Sludge is definitely a beer that I would put on your to-taste list. Especially if you are looking to try one of these elusive Black IPAs.

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