Down here in the Tampa Bay area, our beer selection has improved dramatically in the last few years. We've gone from a relative beer backwater to the home of one of the most exciting new breweries in the country - Cigar City. Besides our own regional brews, we have also seen a huge increase in the selection of small batch brews from all around the country. As an apt example, I offer Iniquity - an imperial black ale from Southern Tier Brewing out of Lakewood, NY.
Per the writing on the bottle, Iniquity "is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night." However, I have to think they're referring mostly to the appearance of this black as night brew. Loaded with chinook, cascade, williamette, and centennial hops, this is clearly an IPA - even at first taste. But while the hops dominate and define this tasty brew, there is an underlying malt character that you might not find in other IPAs - I think the hop bitterness is evident, but the "debittered black malt" balances that bitterness out, making for a very pleasant 9% black IPA bomb.
Find one and drink it!
***For all the PA readers, I was at Cigar City Brewery the other night (and had some great beers), and I heard some bad news for fans from the north. Due to high demand, they're planning to stop supplying the PA market until later this year, after they get a couple new fermenters up and running. If you like the beers and see them around, snatch them up, as they won't be restocked for a while!