Hoppin’ Frog Brewery owner and brewer Fred Karm was fascinated when he started seeing black India pale ales.
The beers are both hoppy and pitch dark — a startling combination for those encountering the style for the first time. Dark beers traditionally have been heavy on the malt flavor and light on bitterness.
Karm, whose Akron production brewery is known worldwide for making bold and flavorful brews in 22-ounce bottles, wasn’t quite satisfied with some that he sampled.
“We wanted more hops,” he said. “That’s what Hoppin’ Frog is.”
So he and his brewers got to work creating Hop Heathen Imperial Black Ale, which is 8.8 percent alcohol by volume. The beer contains an “uncivilized amount of hop spiciness,” Karm said.
It’s the brewery’s first hoppy black ale. Hop Heathen is available at the brewery, 1680-F E. Waterloo Road, and retail stores.
Beer TV update
About two weeks ago, I wrote a story questioning why there isn’t a television program devoted to beer.
I reached out to Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales to get his take on the issue because he headed the short-lived show Brew Masters on the Discovery Channel. Who would know better why there isn’t a regular show about beer than a guy who had a show about beer?
Unfortunately, my email to Calagione seeking comment apparently fell through the cracks and he missed it until after the story ran. But in a classy move, he emailed me a response Friday.
Here are his comments in their entirety:
“First off, the show we did for Discovery, Brew Masters, was not scripted at all — so that wasn’t the challenge. I’m not interested in revisiting the reasons why we did not do more episodes of the show.
“They are already out there on the Internet for those that want to parse through fact and fiction. Unfortunately, I don’t see a TV show about truly indie, small American craft breweries happening on a major channel anytime soon. The relationship between the biggest networks and their biggest advertisers makes it very difficult.
“Perhaps there could be a show that features true indie craft breweries (or start-up craft breweries) but it would most likely be driven and/or sponsored by companies that are not truly indie American craft breweries.
“At the end of the day, what matters most is that consumers are getting better educated and more passionate about supporting true indie American craft breweries. This is a grassroots movement driven by beer lovers interested in supporting grassroots breweries owned by beer lovers.”
• Tony Packo’s, the venerable Toledo institution, is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year with an exclusive beer made by Great Black Swamp Brewing Co. Tony Packo’s 80th Anniversary Ale — a rye pale ale — is available on draft at the restaurants with liquor licenses and is sold in 22-ounce bottles in the restaurant gift shops.
• Mt. Carmel Brewing Co., a production brewery outside Cincinnati, has opened its tasting room.
• Samuel Adams has a new low-alcohol beer coming out this summer. Belgian Session, at 4.3 percent, is perfect to be paired with cheese, the brewery says.