So, the naming of the beer first: Cornish Dark Ale or Black IPA? Who cares, the brewery has Black India Pale Ale on the label, but given that the idea of a BIPA seems to have been plucked out of the air back in the 1990s by Greg Noonan at the Vermont Brewing Company I don’t feel like getting involved in any style wars. Maybe it could be argued that this ‘style’ is similar to a saison, in that it’s a beer upon whose palette the brewer goes for whatever colour he likes (and after all, when brewing the dark saison with Otley recently we drank several Steel City Black IPAs the other night to work out how to get the dark colour without turning it into a stout). A moveable feast, perhaps?
First thoughts though: toffee on nose, followed by a sherbet-like spritziness; old fashioned memories of sweetshops (and you don’t have to be an ancient to appreciate what I mean, there are plenty of themed museums that feature old style sweetshops these days): Everton mints, humbugs. There’s also a light hint of liquorice, plus pineapple or maybe pineapple-flavoured boiled sweets. Plus that nice blast you get when put place your nose in a hop sack at a brewery (and I appreciate that not everyone has done that but on the other hand a lot more beer fans have than haven’t I would warrant a guess, so hop sack stands).
On the palate: there’s a fruity toffee character almost, alongside a subtle roast bite, some coffee beans, giving me a bit of an espresso hit without the jangled nerves; the bitter finish goes on and on, an elongated spiral of throat drying bitterness. There’s also a delicious citrus orange juiciness moping about on the palate as well. BIPA or CDA? I don’t know, but on the other hand, let’s say that this is a well-made and particularly pleasing beer with a Bach-like counterpoint between its restrained roastiness and funky citric fruitiness. Ok?