12 days of IPA: The Ones That Are Oxymoronic; or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Hop-Bomb

I'll keep this brief.

There's no such thing as Black IPA. And Black IPA is everywhere.

I've had animated conversations with brewers about this. I've tried good beers and bad; some no more than hoppy porters, others that shied away from a roast note, many that were just not-pale ale for no discernible reason other than there was a bandwagon to be blagged before the shark gets jumped.

After much discussion and research, I have come to this conclusion:

Who gives a shit?

Call it what you will; just brew good beer. Style is a construct applied retrospectively to describe an often-spontaneous occurrence. Else it's confused with trend, driven by marketing and hangers-on.

Two good beers tonight to wrap up this madness. Windsor & Eton Conqueror was flabby on cask when I tried it at the Brewing Industry International Awards but the bottle tonight is one of my stand-out beers for conditioning and depth of flavour. The Kernel IPA Black underplayed its hand but gained kudos for it; any idiot can chuck hops into a kettle - brew me a beer that knows its boundaries and finds them in a perfectly-executed reverse-sweep kind of way and I'll love it for evermore.

In conclusion: the last Obviously Made Up Fact About IPA:

It is widely believed that IPA is responsible for 95% of all the beer misinformation on
the interweb, with stout/porter and cask/keg responsible for the other 1539%

And the last word goes to Martyn Cornell, from 'Amber, Gold & Black', on the renaming of beers in the Victorian era:

"This lack of consistency raises doubts over whether IPA was ever a properly distinguishable style or just a fancy piece of marketing for well-hopped bitter".

Everything changes. Everything stays the same.


  1. So often is the last sentence true. Good scooping Scooper.

  2. Enjoyed keeping track of this IPA trail. Just wish i could have got to the Derby festival.