There are plenty of things to look forward to during the winter. You’ve got football, maybe a little snow, that awkward holiday conversation with your uncle who still thinks it’s 1988…and then there’s Fade To Black, a winter release series from Left Hand Brewing that always manages to brighten the darkest, coldest days of the season.
For five years in a row, Left Hand has released a different Fade To Black, most of which have been real doozies. The first was a GABF Gold winning stout. Later came a smoked porter, then a pepper porter, and a black acle. This year, Volume 5 is a Black Rye Ale, a sharp beer that upholds Fade To Black’s good standing in the beer world.
True to its name, the Black Rye Ale pours dark and thick, like that stuff that oozes out of Gary Oldman’s head in The Fifth Element. You’re hit with coffee notes upfront and maybe a little molasses, which leads you to expect the beer will be a malty, sweet ice cream like experience, but it’s far more complex than that. Left Hand uses three different kinds of malted rye, which gives this Fade To Black a sharp edge that balances the malt and delivers hints of spice. It’s a rich, creamy, and incredibly pleasant beer that manages to eschew the saccharine trap that plague many winter brews.
It’s so good, it’s actually sad. Fade To Black Volume 5 won’t be around for long, and because of the rotating nature of the series, it likely won’t come back next year. Finally, that “seize the day” cliché hits home.
Brewery: Left Hand
City:Fort Collins, Colo.
Style: Black Rye Ale
Availability: Winter, in six packs