"Quelle est? Ah, le belle femme skunk fatale."

Brewery and Country of Origin: Three Heads Brewing of 164 Chelmsford Road, Rochester, NY, 14618, USA

Date Reviewed: 2-14-13

Ah, here it is. The most romantic, passionate, and heart warming day of the year. Valentines Day. We all know what it is. You sit at your desk with a decorated shoe box, laughing and smiling all the way as your classmates drop candy and small home made cards into the slot in the middle of the lid. If you had a fun teacher, they'd play a movie as well. But then, you move on to middle school, and it all goes down hill from there. Nothing but whiny, prepubescent kids constantly complaining about something completely stupid. Then high school. It seems more and more reasonable to believe that every high school kid in America secretly (or flagrantly openly) wishes they lived in a musical where everything is falling in love with something else. You know, birds and bees heading back to the nest together, iPads and Surfaces making love in the mall after hours, and of course, people and other people not hating eachother. Yep, it seems as though Christmas has nothing on this wholesome, traditional holiday created out of religious celebration... oh wait. Still, we do have to applaud Hallmark, Godiva, and e-Harmony for making this all a real thing. For most, after high school, you sort of move on with your life, get with the program of college, finding a job, and working on establishing a name for yourself. Others, however, like to keep things a bit interesting. And no, we're not talking about those who found their "high school sweetheart" in middle school. They're getting married, having two point three children, driving around in Toyota Camrys, and own a 2,200 st ft home in a suburb with a good school district... or they're getting divorced as we type. We're talking of course, about those who still believe in the magic of Valentine's Day. Year after year, people go out on the town with the ambition of falling deeply madly in love with some svelte woman of their dreams who somehow feels the same way. Unrequited. In fact, CNN just published some opinion piece about how traditional dating is dead. Sad, but many people agree that online dating is becoming a real thing, and we should all embrace it. Yeah... no. Anyway, we all know that feeling of rejection, being crushed by a crush, or at least, misunderstood. Charlie Brown has, and he's still only in that elementary school, "everyone gets a Valentine from everyone" part of his life. But perhaps the most delusionally passionate animated character of them all, is our French friend, Pepe Le Pew. Of course, everyone knows his problem, except for himself. He's a skunk, and he's quite repulsive. But that doesn't deter his desire to find a mate in Paris... even though she is usually of a different species. And that brings us to a sub style of IPA which we quite enjoy. Yes, the Black IPA. We've reviewed some of these in the past, and all of them get at least decent marks. But to many, the idea of a taking a traditionally bitter, hoppy, medium light bodied, lighter colored beer and turning it on its head with the addition of dark and/or roasted malt doesn't sit well. Introducing these more substantial flavors and feel to a typically crisp beer can make this beer ambiguous or complicated, and for that reason, people don't bother with it. Admittedly, we do know that it's not the most popular style there is, but it produces some genuinely satisfying results. And as far as we're concerned, this great beer style is simply, like a skunk in Paris, a bit misunderstood.
Date Sampled: 1-23-13 At: Vicki's "Apartment," Northeastern University, 50 Leon Street Boston, MA, USA
Beer Style: American Black IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 6.50%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 14 oz Sam Adams Glass
Rating: 3.45


Skunk's appearance, as implied by its name, is very dark in color. The tone is brown with a slight glow in the light, indicative of a small amount of hazy, cloudy sediment. This sediment does not settle after pouring. The beer pours somewhat choppy with a medium amount of carbonation action, giving this beer a full, inch tall foam head with a medium density and an above average retention. There is also a good amount of lacing.


The aroma is characterized with a fairly strong hoppy flavor, mixed with some dark roasted coffee and pure cocoa like malt. There is also a small amount of nuttiness as well as a biscuity like note. The smell overall is of slightly above average strength. There is no fruitiness or alcohol in this beer's aroma.


This is a medium full bodied beer with a typical amount of carbonation action, an above average amount of viscosity, and a matching weight. This beer finishes dry with a good amount of lingering. There is a fair bit of smoothness, despite the carbonation, making this a sipping beer with substance. There is a subtle alcohol induced warming effect after the close.


As this is an IPA, the flavor is expectedly dominated with full hoppy and bitter character. There are some secondary coffee and roasted like malty notes, as well as a small amount of nuttiness. The flavor is strong with a good amount of complexity, but the somewhat matching darker malt presence makes this a fairly well balanced beer. There is a small amount of alcoholic tinge, and the aftertaste is mostly bitter with a dry effect, and some lingering.

Our Take

If you are "lucky" enough to have a date tonight, make sure you go classy with the dinner accompanying bevs. And no, Yellow Tail isn't classy. But that doesn't mean that you take beer out of the picture. Fortunately, craft beer nowadays is seen as a very hip and at least somewhat sophisticated alternative to cocktails and table wine. So if you're trying to impress that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl at a restaurant which requires all men to wear jackets, then go at it. But by classy, we don't necessarily mean refined. Cost, brand, and perception aren't what good beer's all about. And of course, you don't have to go with the tried and true, either. You can be boring and get your usual high quality, well known Harpoon or Sierra Nevada. But this is Valentine's Day. This is time to do something new, something strange, and something fun. And that's why you should opt for a beer with character. The world hasn't gotten to this point yet, but some day, what beer you drink will say a lot about you, much in the same way that the car you drive, broadcasts a good amount of your personality to the motorists around you. Getting a new and exciting or quirky beer may show her (or him) that you're not boring, you like to try new things, and of course, you like to have fun. This black IPA has some faults, with a bit too much of an alcoholic presence, a slightly tingey aftertaste, and a feel fuller than most would want in an IPA. But overall, this is a very good beer which you won't find in many places. In fact, you won't find the style being brewed or served in many places either. Looks and feels like a porter. Finishes and smells like an IPA. Tastes like both. A fusion of some brewer's passion, and the love for beer shared by enthusiasts everywhere. Today's not a day to mope around and complain about your relationship or lack of one. Today is simply, just another day. And every day is a new opportunity to discover something new and exciting, so don't waste it. And if you are reading this being single, attractive, taller, blonde, into cars, lobster, & hockey, and looking for a guy in the Boston area who loves life, and wants a puppy, feel free to write to us at Yes,IamAmberHeard,andyou'reonmytodolist@stilldreaming.com. You'll never regret it.