Brewery: Stewart Brewing
Stewart Brewing is a relatively established player among Scotland’s beer-makers. Based in Edinburgh since 2004, you can find a Stewart Brewing product in pubs and shops stretching from Inverness to Newcastle. The firm predates the craft beer movement by quite a margin, but Stewart Brewing is now a notable part of that landscape nonetheless. In this spirit, Black IPA, which the label says is “an oxymoronic ale”, is one of many Stewart beers that falls into the craft beer bracket.
The Black IPA’s chocolatey colour is matched by a strong cocoa aroma. (And, comfortingly, a hearty swig confirms the old saying: “If it looks like a chocolatey beer, and smells like a chocolatey beer, then…”). A topnote of grapefruit splits the beer’s balance of hops and malt; the overall effect is one of a beer with soft, even malleable edges that makes the IPA a surprisingly inviting proposition. The beer’s roasted malt flavours underpin its woody character, and there’s a residual burnt finish to the beer that is quite appealing—that said, drinkers with a taste for something sweeter might prefer something a little more forgiving.