I am not going to throw blind puns at you on this one - there is so much more to this beer than its clever name.
It is rather difficult gauging the current IPA climate. One minute it is sunny, session IPAs (that to my mind are a pale ale dressed in IPA clothing), then the storm clouds gather and we enter black IPA territory (an endearing misnomer, if ever there was one). Enter Sierra Nevada's 4-Way IPA series, that goes all Melbourne on us by providing four seasons in one day.
As the name suggests, there are four individual beers that comprise this (partially) one-off seasonal batch-release. Heading the way is Sierra Nevada's permanent-fixture, flagship IPA: Torpedo, which is highly celebrated and with good reason. It is joined by Nooner (a "session IPA;" the only let-down in the series), Snow Wit White IPA (which I have covered in a separate review) and its equally awesome black brother, Blindfold Black IPA.
Straight off the bat, Blindfold strikes with aromas of hay and barn straw. Hop aromas are muted overall underneath this rural tonality.
The mouthfeel here is nigh on perfect for the black IPA style. It is not overwhelmingly dense; such that it contributes to the overall balance of the end result.
The well-balanced backbone here is roasty and astringent, however it is offset nicely by way of the beer's fantastically malty body. Bold, but somehow subtle, peppermint, rosemary and very black tea notes sing through. Blindfold is quite the herbal-driven diva!
One cannot help but embrace the dark clouds as they start gathering. What else is there to do? This is especially true of an approaching thunderstorm. It could even be said that Blindfold IPA encapsulates the stillness and building humidity that is endemic of the changing seasons. When the clouds eventually part, one can always follow suit and take in the Torpedo, Nooner or Snow Wit White IPA offerings.