Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Revival! Export India Porter...

Last night I went to my first CAMRA meeting. No, not the Campaign for Real Ale. Charlottesville's local homebrew club is called the Charlottesville Area Masters  of Real Ale, or CAMRA. Yes, yes, I know I have been here now for over a year, but I had not plucked up the courage to go to a meeting quite simply because these guys win medals left, right and centre at homebrew competitions.

Anyway, one of the members recently started following my Twitter feed and we got into the conversation that seems to be de rigeur in American beer circles at the moment, Black IPA or whatever the trendy term this week is. It turned out that Jamey had brewed a Black IPA around the same time as I brewed my Red Coat India Black Ale. We agreed to meet at CAMRA's monthly meeting and compare beers, a short version of the comparison would be; both were good. Jamey used American C-hops and for the first time in a Black IPA they didn't taste out of place, although my first thought of the nose was sweaty jockstraps, but that became blood grapefruits after a further sniff or two. On the basis of his beer I wonder if part of my gripe is with the lack of balance in the IBAs I have had so far?

My beer was also good, judging from the approving nods and comments from various members, but given that the hops were British, the consensus was that this was really a porter. I suppose that reaction very much vindicates my belief that Black IPA is actually just an over-hopped porter, using American hops rather than British. Given that the IBU range for Robust Porter according to the BJCP (sorry to the non-style people) is 25 - 50, and that according to a recent post on Ron's blog, 19th century porters shipped to India had about a third extra hops chucked in, then the evidence is stacking, in my mind, that India Black Ale belongs with the porters rather than the IPAs.

As such, I have decided to enter Red Coat in the upcoming Virginia Beer Blitz as a Robust Porter rather than my initial plan to enter it as a Category 23 Specialty Beer.Also being entered in the competition will be Machair Mild, as Experimental Dark Matter has been renamed, and Gunnersbury Gold, a Best Bitter.

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