This past weekend I decided to brew what is arguably the most currently discussed and controversial “style” in the homebrewing community. The style I’m talking about became popular within the last few years amongst homebrewers and select microbreweries and was just officially deemed “American-Style India Black Ale” in 2010 (style guidelines can be found here). Since it took a while for an official name for the style to be determined by the Brewers’ Association, brewers and drinkers alike took to calling it by a variety of monikers, such as “Black IPA,” “Cascadian Dark Ale” and “India Black Ale.” If you read around on various homebrew forums, you’ll notice many people seem to have a passionate opinion about the style’s naming convention as well as whether or not it deserves to be officially named a “style” at all.
All I can say is that I sure do like how it tastes. I’ve tried one commercial and one homebrewed example of the style and have found they both tasted like a combination of a strong IPA hop profile with some of the roast notes of a stout or porter. Very cool, unique brew. I’d call it the schwartzbier of the ale world (schwartzbier is a style of dark lager). (more…)