Blacks of Kinsale have come a long way since they burst on the scene mid-way through last year with their beautifully hoppy American pale ale.
They’ve got their own brewery now, they’ve undergone a (pretty damn cool) rebrand, and they’ve added another seriously solid brew to their beer range: a Black IPA.
New-world-hoppy dark ales have been getting pretty popular across the pond (both in the States and with UK beer drinkers) for some time. So, it’s no surprise that they’ve slowly been filtering into the Irish beerhead’s consciousness over the past few months. Needless to say, a style that marries sprucey (and often tropical) hop notes with chewy chocolate roastiness ticks plenty of boxes for many beer drinkers. It certainly does for me, put it that way.
This newest Blacks creation pours a charcoal colour with a thick mocha head. As soon as your nose gets anywhere near the glass, you get a big smack of very green-smelling pine needles. There’s some juicy orange stuff happening and a bit of peppery spiciness. Close your eyes and you’d purely believe that you had a West Coast pale ale in your hand. There’s a touch of chocolate and coffee in the aroma that shows itself after a bit of swirling and warming up, just to remind you that there’s a good bit of dark stuff happening too.
The taste is incredibly well balanced. Loads of lovely orange, citrus, and slightly sweet pine representing the abundance of American hops while there’s some great dark chocolate, light ashy notes, and burnt coffee fighting for the malt corner. Fairly thin bodied, but plenty of juicy grapefruit, herbal notes, and roasted malt character come out towards the finish.
The surprising thing is that this creation only comes in at 5% ABV – it punches well above its weight. Really incredibly easy drinking, the closest thing to a session BIPA I’ve ever come across. You’ll pick this up in good beer offies for around the €3.50 mark for a 50cl bottle. Which, to be fair, is an utter bargain. Another cracker from Blacks of Kinsale and a very successful rebrand to boot.