Beer Review: Blackbird (Martin House Brewing Company)

Beer Review: Blackbird (Martin House Brewing Company)

Blackbird by Martin House Brewing Company makes for an excellent grilling beer.

Its upper 60s in early / mid May in Central PA, its a bit past noon, and you are stuck ‘inside’ (or at least stuck in / on ‘lockdown’) due to coronavirus / COVID-19, and you have a grill going in front of you, cooking up some hot dogs for three hungry offsprings…. you know what goes well with that? A fantastic Imperial Sour! Thats what! And luckily, as part of my beer mail trade, I received an excellent Imperial Sour all the way from Fort Worth Texas. And, it was absolutely delicious, hit the spot, was an excellent grilling beer, and went down far too fast (and made for a nice afternoon nap out in the sun reading.)

A bit ago, I did a beer mail trade, I sent some local beers – Boneshire Brew Works, Tattered Flag, Pizza Boy, Ever Grain Brewing, and Troegs Independent Craft Brewing; and in exchange I received beers from Texas. I’ve covered quite a few of them so far on the blog – Islla En El Cielo, Road Trip Snacks, Virtually Inseparable, and $#!+ Ton!. So far, the entire beer mail package I received was delicious. …Except for one – but I knew that going in, and thats primarily due to my tastes, my friend D. Scott loved it; and thats the Spicy Pickle Beer Maid beer from Martin House Brewing Company. I hate pickles. I’m not a huge spice person. And I received it for free as a bonus beer. I poured myself basically a shot of it, and gave Drew the rest of it, knowing pretty much full well that I was not going to like it. And sure enough, I didn’t. Thats not really a negative to the beer – thats just my own tastes, and I knew that going into it. (Don’t worry, I didn’t pull the famous Untappd line of: “0.5 Stars, IPA, I don’t like IPAs.” Or something similar.) Thats just a type of beer thats going to be polarizing, if you like pickles, or spice, you’ll probably like it, if you don’t, you’ll hate it. Not a lot of middle ground on that beer, and really, you aren’t going to be buying that beer if you know you’re not going to like it.

Alright, so lets move on, to a beer I really DID enjoy from Martin House Brewing Company – and that’s Blackbird. So lets discuss it!

Blackbird by Martin House Brewing Company, from Fort Worth, Texas.

Beer: Blackbird
Brewery: Martin House Brewing Company
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 9.2%
IBU: 6
Untappd Description: Imperial Blackberry Sour.

According to Untappd; Martin House Brewing Company is a microbrewery from Fort Worth Texas. They have 505 unique beers, and a global average rating of 3.78 (as of 5.12.20.) Their Untappd description reads: “Martin House Brewing Company is a team of brewers, explorers, and dreamers. We avoid tradition in favor of adventure, both in brewing and in life. We value good ingredients and good people, and each of our beers will pair perfectly with life’s memorable moments. We want to be the handcrafted beer you and your friends choose when celebrating your most recent adventure or planning the next one. Martin House – Made in Texas by Texans.”

This pours a beautiful berry purplish, or lavender hue, its bright, sparkly, and looks like a lot of your typical berry infused sours. Especially blackberry or blueberry or raspberry sours. This is a bit on the more royal purple, darker purple spectrum, with the blackberries providing the deeper, darker contrasting purple coloring. It looks beautiful. It has a nice bit of carbonation and foam with a reasonable amount of head retention and leaves a good lacing on the glass as you drain this (and drain it quickly I did).

Aroma is strong berry, thankfully, which shows how this is a good beer. When blackberries are your main ingredient, I better well be getting a very heavy nose of them, and I certainly do with this. It has a tart, bite to the berry smell. You get a few hint of other berry notes, or at least I felt like it – raspberry a mild bit. There is also a faint hint of the booze hidden here from the smell.

Taste is fantastic. Its smooth, its tart, its sour, its even a bit boozy, but it is very dangerously crushable. I quaffed mine down far quicker than I expected. There is a boozy aftertaste from draining it. It almost tastes like it could have been barrel aged, but I’m 99.999999% certain its not, though I couldn’t find anything on their site, on Untappd, Beer Advocate, or with a quick Google search saying either way. Sadly the Untappd description doesn’t give you a lot to go on. You definitely can tell this is an Imperial or Double, and you certainly get that 9.2% ABV with this. It has a very tart going towards sour taste, which gets amplified by the higher ABV. It is undeniably juicy and very berry flavored, so if you are not a fan of berries – in particular black berries, this might not be for you, but I think it would still be an enjoyable beer. Its like drinking a very potent juice, with a bit of a boozy bite to it. It is a wonderful summer beer, and perfect for grilling, perfect for sipping outside in the sun, in just soccer shorts, tanning, reading, and… falling asleep and getting massively burnt because you passed out for an hour and a half and only get woken up by your youngest jumping off the trampoline to purposefully scare you ….. not speaking from experience or anything here. Sigh.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 4.1 (as of 5.12.20)

We are nearing our one-year anniversary here on The Beer Thrillers blog (May 17th, 2020 will be one year of the blog going strong), and what a wild ride its been. Especially the last few months. It certainly has thrown a monkey wrench in quite a few different ways. But its also provided an outlet for these troubling times. Look for a big article on that date, talking about the blog in a bit of a historical aspect.

Cheers everyone. Please keep safe and healthy, and please keep supporting your local businesses and breweries. They need it now more than ever!

-B. Kline

A fantastic grilling beer – Blackbird by Martin House Brewing Company

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