Ignore the snow. “Orbital Contusion” is being released today at Third Wheel Brewing in St. Peters.
“Orbital Contusion” is a Black IPA which is a nod to head brewer Abbey Spencer’s homebrewing days with her husband.
“We aimed to create beers that were unique or hard to get. We had Avery’s New World Porter, a dry-hopped porter, that on the label said, “Think Black IPA!” And we did,” said Spencer. “A few years later, Cascadian Dark ales and IPAs were popping up everywhere, but the style has fallen off somewhat.”
And she’s right, you don’t see many Black IPAs around very much, so if you’re fan, makes sure you don’t miss this one.
Let’s start with the beer’s name “Orbital Contusion.” Honestly, it took me a minute to get the “joke” but now I appreciate the thought. I’ll give you a minute.
Orbital Contusion is a black eye, and a Black I-PA. “Puns for hoppy beers are overdone, but we like it. The mirror-like design in space is a nod to “orbital,” said Spencer.
With Orbital Contusion, the focus is on the relationship between the dark malts and the hop profile. Rather than a dry-hopped porter or an IPA with dark malts, each ingredient is selected to create a well-balanced beer that is reminiscent of a chocolate orange.
The beer pours very dark brown, almost opaque black, and provides a bright white foam head. On the nose, you’ll get sweet orange, pine, dark chocolate, and a hint of sweetened coffee.
The flavor mimics the aroma. You get dark chocolate-covered oranges, lingering citrus bitterness, mellow pine, and a touch of roast. The body is medium and the carbonation is high. Although the bitterness lingers, you are rewarded with a pleasant after-taste of citrus and chocolate.
Pairings and can art
Due to the complexity of the beer, there are tons of options for pairing. Just be sure to find a complex enough dish to match the beer.
“I’d suggest chicken mole tacos with a mango fruit salsa or lime salsa verde,” said Spencer. “The chocolate and fruit components mirror the beer’s flavor profile, and the savory, salty tacos greatly contrast the bitter hop finish. And beer is the best with tacos!”
Third Wheel’s original artist, Christina Ryan @tattigator, designed the label.
Orbital Contusion is a tap room-exclusive release, available starting Saturday, January 15th at Third Wheel Brewing—4008 N. Service Rd, St. Peters, MO 63376.