Name: Bridge Road/To Øl/Birra Del Borgo India Black Session Ale

Style: India Black Ale (IBA)

Country: Australia, Denmark, and Italy

ABV: 4.2%

Beer description: This India Black “Session” Ale is a collaboration between three breweries from three separate countries: Bridge Road Brewers from Australia; To Øl from Denmark; and Birra Del Borgo from Italy. It was brewed special during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week and has the much longer name (according to the tap handle) of One Autumn Sunday Morning Somewhere Three Hours North of Melbourne – probably referring to Beechworth.

As the name would suggest, this beer is black. It’s almost a dark brown, but darker. This is contrasted by the tan-to-white colour head that is quite light.

The beer has limited aroma. There’s a little bit of malt and a general crispness comes through. It’s a light and sweet smell, but it would be nice if more cam out in the nose. Some spice comes through as well. This all sits amongst a bit of chocolate and coffee from the darker malts. With some searching, there’s some sweet peaches in there too. All in all, it’s not a particularly fragrant beer. Some may say it’s subtle, others would say the smells are a bit trapped. The beer could do with more aroma.

This style and feeling continues in the taste. Up front there’s very little. It’s a thin beer with a mild sweetness at the beginning of the taste. All in all though, the front end is best described as watery with a hint of bubbles playing on the tongue. The bubbles give a bit of sourness, but it’s a carbonation playfulness.

All of this is followed by a very dry and extremely earthy bitterness. There’s a spiciness about the bitterness that is quite nice. The interesting thing about this beer is that most of it is at the back of the taste spectrum, and they’ve managed to cram a few things in there: earthy, bitter, and spice. Amongst this is a general feeling of burnt coffee and chocolate, typical of darker malts.

This beer could probably do with a bit more up the front to really round out the flavour. We’ll say it’s subtle in aroma, rather than not enough aroma, but there’s simply nothing in the taste other than a way too intense back end. They’ve intentionally made this beer on the lighter side (to make it a session ale), but it’s lacking malt to really hold it together.

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