Tag Archives: black IPA

Three beers from the Netherlands

I had these on a recent trip to the Netherlands. I was on my way to the airport, but I had an hour to spare so my host, the wonderful Lars Daniels, took me to a beer shop, we bought three interesting looking bottles, and then drank them at his place while he was interviewing me for an article.


Rooie Dop Chica Americana IPA
7.1% alcohol
This is brewed at de Molen, a famous craft brewery in NL, by Rooie Dop. They’re based in Utrecht, and their website is here. Very sweet nose is rich and malty with some lively floral notes, and some honeyed character. Rich but balanced on the palate with subtle bitterness on the finish. Very appealing, but maybe too much toffee and honey character? It’s really good, but potentially could be even better. 8/10




Rat Ale Green Hops 
5.9% alcohol
This is an amber ale that’s  a collaboration between De Eem (from Amersfoort) and Hommeles (from Houten, Amsterdam), brewed at De Leckere (Utrecht). A full brown colour, this is powerful stuff with treacle and malt notes, as well as some tar and caramel. It’s a bold, characterful beer that’s really attractive. 7.5/10


Pampus/ De Eem Dark Hops Edition 2014
8% alcohol
A collaboration between Pampus and de Eem, this is a Black IPA of real character. Six kinds of malt were used, and it’s a dark, almost opaque colour. Powerful and dense with notes of roast coffee, iodine, treacle and dark chocolate, this is such a concentrated beer. It’s lovely, but not all that easy to drink. 8.5/10

Brouwerij de Molen Zwart & Wit

zwart and witt

This beer is amazing. It’s from Netherlands brewer Brouwerij de Molen, and it’s a Black IPA. Some beer writers think Black IPA is an abomination. Against nature, they say. They are WRONG, because this is superbly complex and delicious. I bought it on the advice of some beer journalists I was travelling with a year or two ago in Ghent, Belgium. I was just getting into beer, and this seemed quite expensive, but it’s not, considering the quality.

Brouwerij de Molen Zwart & Wit
8.4% alcohol
54 EBU. Dark brown in colour. Very rich nose is malty with dark chocolate but no rough edges. There’s some sweetness on the palate and a lovely texture, with chocolate and herb flavours and a real creaminess, as well as a hint of roast coffee. Textured and showing beautiful balance, this is oustanding. 9/10

Some great beers from Beavertown


We’ve reviewed a couple of Beavertown’s offerings on Beeranorak already (here) – well, at least Daniel has. I thought it was time for me to add some views on their range, which I think is really exciting. They’re based in Hackney, in a part known as De Beauvoir Town, hence ‘Beavertown’, which is the cockney reference to this area, which in Victorian times was known for its bars and breweries.

The brewery was established by Logan Plant and Byron Knight in 2011, and in 2012 they opened a brew pub, Duke’s Brew & Que. Everything I have tried from them so far has been excellent.

Beavertown Gamma Ray American Pale Ale
5.4% alcohol
This is a beer on which Daniel and I disagree. It’s beautifully aromatic, floral and tangy, with grapefruit and herbs in the mix, too. It has a lovely savoury, tangy palate with grapefruit, lemon and spice. Real precision and focus here. 8.5/10


Beavertown 8 Ball Rye IPA
6.2% alcohol
Malts: Simpsons Best, Rye, Crystal Rye, CaraGold, Low colour Crystal. Hops: Magnum, Columbus, Cascade, Citra, Galaxy. 50 IBUs. There’s about 20% rye in this delicious, distinctive beer. Rich, warm and textured with a nice sweet, tangy, malty base, and precise citrus and herb notes, finishing rich, warm and spicy. 8.5/10


Beavertown Bloody Ell Blood Orange IPA
7.4% alcohol
This is a really creative beer, brewed with 25 kg of blood oranges, which were hand-peeled, with the squeezed juice added at the end of the boil. An extra pale malt was used. Amazing aromas of orange peel, lemons, spice and tropical fruits. Lovely palate with sweet tangerine notes, as well as some lemon. Powerful, intense and amazingly fruity with real personality. 8.5/10


Beavertown Black Betty Black IPA
7.4% alcohol
Malt: Simpsons Best, Caragold, Caramalt, Carafa II, Carafa III. Hops: Magnum, Columbus, Chinook, Citra. 60 IBUs. Rich, powerful, bold and dense with lovely sweet, subtly chocolatey notes and some malt. Amazing depth of flavour combining the rich notes with a tangy citrus freshness. 8/10

Beavertown Smog Rocket Smoked Porter
5.4% alcohol
Malt: Simpsons Best, Smoke, Caramalt, Crystal, Oats, Munich, Brown, Chocolate, Black. Hops: Magnum, Chinook. 23 IBUs. Amazingly rich and dense with chocolatey richness and some bitter notes. Intense with sweet dark maltiness, combining richness and intensity with lovely detail. 8/10

Three beers from Marks & Spencer


Marks & Spencer have put some thought into developing their own-label beer range. Here are three bottles from the line-up. They’re quite smart beers: not serious hardcore craft material, but considering their customers, they are a bit more edgy than they needed to have been, which is a good thing. These are the sort of beers I am happy to drink if I lack a more serious option, but I won’t be making a detour to find them. I hope this doesn’t seem harsh. They’re really quite good. OK I will be quiet now.

M&S Welsh Golden Ale Brains Brewery Cardiff
4.6% alcohol
Made with challenger hops, late hopped with Cascade and Styrian Golding. Slightly savoury style , with the bitter hops just about winning out over the subtle malty notes. Midweight with some herbiness and hints of spice. There’s some complexity here. 7/10



M&S Greenwich Black IPA
5.7% alcohol
From the Meantime brewery. Beer writer Roger Protz describes this style of beer thus: ‘Black IPA is absurd and an insult to history.’ I disagree. Let the beer talk. It’s made using 7 dark malts, and a combination of English and American hops. Dark, malty and chocolatey with some bitter dark chocolate notes, some herbs and a complex savouriness. Distinctive and attractive. 7/10



M&S Organic Scottish Heather Honey Beer
5% alcohol
Made by the Black Isle Brewery, this is organic. A blond beer brewed with heather honey. Sweetly honeyed with some herbiness and subtle malty notes. Pale coloured with some spiciness. The honey influence is quite subtle adding a bit of sweetness. Normally, I’m not a fan of beer with flavourings, but this seems to work well, 7.5/10

Some beers from Renaissance, Marlborough, New Zealand

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ve come across Renaissance Brewing Company beers a few times before on my trips to New Zealand. They’re based in Blenheim, which is in Marlborough, the largest of the Kiwi wine regions, and you can get the beers on tap at Dodsons (which is next door to the brewery) – as well as in bottle across most of the country. Here I tried a few in London with Roger Kerrison, at the Craft Beer Rising show where these beers made their UK debut.

Renaissance Discovery American Pale Ale
4.5% alcohol
Lovely fresh, bright citrussy beer with nice hoppiness. A bright, lemony style with some herbiness. 8/10

Renaissance Voyager India Pale Ale
6% alcohol
Some sweet noes. Rich, tangy and a bit spicy with powerful flavours and lovely spicy depth. Fresh, tangy and intense. 8/5/10

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale
7% alcohol
Made from nine malts, blended together, to produce what they call the ‘red wine’ of their range. It’s not my favourite, but it is food friendly. Malty and rich with some weight. Sweet, tangy and herby with some toffee and spice notes. Richly textured. 7/10

Renaissance Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter
7.6% alcohol
Brewed with cherries. Powerful and intense with spice and chocolate notes, as well as herbs and black cherries, with a hint of sourness. Rich but a little odd. Amazingly complex. 8/10

renaissance black IPA Ripa Renaissance Enlightenment Black IPA The RIPA
6.5% alcohol
A black ale brewed with rye. Powerful, fresh and tangy with a lively citrus edge to the malty, chocolatey stout character. Nice depth and balance here. 8.5/10

You can see some pictures of Dodsons (effectively the brewery tap, in Blenheim, New Zealand) at the bottom of this blog post from my last visit to Kiwi land.