For some reason, Flat 12 Bierwerks seems to be Indianapolis’s best-kept secret. In fact, I have friends who live in Indianapolis who had no idea the place even existed until I was down there raving about their beers one weekend. Those friends are now converts, but by and large Indy remains a Sun King city, which is an absolute crime, because Flat 12 boasts a stellar selection of beers, including a pair of world-class IPAs (Walkabout and Half-Cycle) and a stellar milk stout (Lacto-matic). I was unfamiliar with their Black ABA (which, yes, is more than a bit redundant) when I saw it on tap at my local, but being that it was a Flat 12 beer, I immediately knew I needed to try it.
Style: American Black Ale 6.0% ABV
Serving: Draft into a pint glass
Appearance: It looks black at first, but when exposed to direct light it is actually opaque, with a black center giving way to a lighter brown at the edges with hardly any head to speak of. Looks more like coffee than beer.
Aroma: A lot of coffee up front, with hints of burnt toffee and a distinct caramel hop note.
Flavor: Again, a lot of coffee up front, but with a lot of complex things happening in the rest of the palate. There’s a combination of caramel and a sweet maltiness in the mid-mouth, with a surprising amount of alcohol in the finish (especially for a 6.0% ABV beer) and strong but not unpleasantly bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium. A lot like a cup of coffee.
Overall: A complex and incredibly tasty beer that proves once again how befuddling it is that Flat 12 should be Indiana’s best-kept beer secret.
Final Grade: A-