Interesting piece over at the Hop Press by the ever excellent Lisa Morrison (one of the contributors to 1001 Beers and better known as the Beer Goddess) on the semantics regarding the naming of what some have dubbed Black IPA — dark beers bearing the piney resiny hop character common to beers of the Northwest (the US that is, not Lancashire). Black IPA, as she rightly says, is oxymoronic. Now I’m all for mixing up styles, pushing the boundaries, moving on from beer perimeters established in the days of the Ark (providing those who lead the way know what they are doing — I always believe you have to be able to brew to style before deciding that all style has to be thrown out of the window, even Picasso probably learnt to draw), but names such as Black IPA are just daft — let’s have golden stouts or even clear beer (hold on didn’t one of the big US combos do that?); no let’s not. Anyway, what Lisa discusses is one name that has emerged to describe this new style — Cascadian Dark Ale. You can read all about the pros and cons here, but I like the sound of it. The name describes the Cascade Mountain Range, it gives a beer an appellation, it gives it a place, a home and a landscape with which we can paint a picture of the beer. And boy doesn’t a beer seem better when it has a home and a place — Bohemian Pils, London Porter, Burton Ale, Franconian Rauchbier, etc, etc. A beer without a home is a wanderer, pacing the streets, buttonholing strangers for sustenance, remembering, always remembering, before they gradually vanish.