Cruella, a 4.8% Black IPA brewed by Brewsters brewery, went on sale last night and prompted at least an hour’s worth of heated debate!
I think most discerning drinkers know what style of beer Black IPA – love it or hate it – pertains to be. Basically it is a black beer so heavily hopped (in the IPA styleee) that it obscures the roast malt character from the flavour. It is the name the style has adopted, that of Black India Pale Ale that is causing the controversy. Now I can personally live with the name. If it tastes good (and believe me, it does), then you could call it Uncle Henry’s Old Mucous and I’d drink it! But there’s always going to be a section of drinkers that say the term Black India Pale Ale is a contradiction in terms. And so it is, but at least it’s getting people excited and having animated discussions about beer. Which is good.
After just a few minutes research, it seems that the term ‘Black IPA’ might have been born from one of the first brewed examples of this style, Blackwatch IPA from the Vermont brewery in the USA. It seems quite feasible to me that Blackwatch IPA became shortened to Black IPA and then applied generically to other beers of the same style. We’ll never know. What we do know is that more British brewers are producing this new and exciting beer style and it is probably here to stay.
The problem is, if it’s not Black IPA, what do we call it? Either leave a comment below or have your say in the poll below and we’ll adopt the name in Just Beer.