I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. As we start our first season without Tim Duncan, I reached into my fridge to grab the tall, slender can. It reminds me that our tall, slender power forward isn’t starting tonight. Or at all this year. It will be ok. I’ll be fine—I’ve got a Silver and Black IPA from Branchline Brewing.
Silver and Black IPA is a year round tribute to the five-time NBA Champions from San Antonio. It’s a black IPA, which means Silver and Black features the hoppy bitterness that you come to expect from an IPA. But it also features darker, often heavily roasted grains that give it a nice toasted flavor.
Roasted barley and Carafa III malts also give Silver and Black its dark, near-black color. This is a beer that improves with a bit of air to release the aromatics so warm the beer slightly. I poured it into a room temperature glass and appreciated the thick, creamy head and the aromas of coffee, chocolate and vanilla. I inhaled the subtle hop fragrance, remembering how Timmy quietly led the team for almost two decades.
I took my first sip of the beer and tasted the roasted malt notes, along with mild, herbal and piney hops. I let the beer breathe and come up in temperature, reminiscing about the golden days of “The Big Three.” I took a few more sips; the bitterness from the hops—65 IBUs!—provides a nice balance to the strong malt finish. Strong finishes. Tim finished strong, too… I’m fine. No, really, I’m fine.
Even though Silver and Black has boozy notes and a strong finish, the medium body keeps the beer very drinkable, even at warmer temperatures. At 6.3% ABV, Silver and Black isn’t the strongest beer in the craft beer section, but it’s just about right for drinking one-pint-per-quarter. If the game goes into overtime, you’re on your own.
Silver and Black pairs well with chocolate, cheeses, stadium popcorn and the salt of your tears as you look back fondly on the career of the greatest power forward ever to play the game.
Cheers, Timmy. Enjoy your retirement.