Bigger and darker: two beers for the weekend

Beerista: Kinnegar's award-winning black IPA and Beavertown’s take on the style

What tastes like an IPA but looks like a stout? The black India pale ale – the oxymoron beer that emerged here a few years back, and originated in the US. At the time it seemed like the black IPA might be just another of craft beer’s passing fads, another twist on the IPA that caught on quickly. And for a while nearly every brewery was releasing their take on the new style – until the session IPA came along and the milkshake ones and the cloudy northeastern IPAs and all the other variations on the IPA style.

The black IPA never died off, however, and you’ll still find a few good ones on the shelves now. As a style it’s a bit variable and can taste like a really hoppy stout with rich roasted and coffee undertones with a big hit of citrus from the hops. Or you might find the dark, malty flavours are not very apparent and if you were to close your eyes you could be drinking a standard hoppy IPA.

Black Betty is a black IPA made by Beavertown and is now one of their core beers. The aroma is a little sweet and tropical fruity with a solid piney and hoppy taste with some roasted, dark chocolate flavour, a dry finish and a building alcohol warmth at 7.4 per cent.

Donegal brewery Kinnegar recently won an award at the Brussels Beer Challenge for their Black Bucket black rye IPA. Described as the "bigger, darker brother" to their excellent Rustbucket Rye Ale, it is 6.4 per cent and pours with a tight head of foam. There's a delicious hit of hops on the aroma but there's more than just hops in the follow-through, with a taste of roasted, malty flavours playing into grapefruit, a hint of vanilla and liquorice with a solid finishing bitterness. This is a complex, balanced beer – go and try it, with your eyes closed.