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Thornbridge Raven: we like it

It seems we’re the last to the party on this so-called ‘Black IPA’, having already seen posts by:

We finally tracked it down at Cask in Pimlico last night. We liked it but, at 6.6%, and with an almost harsh bitterness and rich, mouth-coating hops, it was one to enjoy by the half and at a leisurely pace.

The oxymoron in the name is a bit irritating — black and pale..? — although we can see what they’re getting at. We’d probably call it a flowery porter.

14 replies on “Thornbridge Raven: we like it”

Haven’t found Raven on tap again since then, unfortunately. It was a good drop and no mistake.

I like the ‘flowery porter’ idea. Although didn’t ‘stout’ originate as a stronger, drier, more heavily-hopped version of porter anyway? So surely a Black IPA is a dry stout by another name? Or a double-hopped dry stout..?

Without wanting to get into “beer styles”, I’d say stouts tend to have a lot of bitterness but not much hop aroma or flavour, whereas this is both. So, lots of hops at the end of the boil and dry hopping thereafter? That’s not usual in a stout.

Two thumbs up from me, having had it at the Cambridge Blue in Cambridge and at Cask and loved it on both occasions. Garrett from the Bull in Horton Kirby also rated it highly. Another winner from Thornbridge. A beer that’s dangerously sessionable.

Hello, Andrew. The only shame is that Cask didn’t have any Dark Star on Friday — have Thornbridge stolen their affections?

Hi Bailey. Hopefully the lack of DS is just a temporary aberration. When I visited they were serving Hophead and Sussex Extra Stout. There’s definitely room for both breweries on the bar.

BTW, thanks to your recommendation, I made it along to the Old Brewery yesterday. I probably haven’t had enough kellerbiers to judge the authenticity of the Meantime take on the style, but it certainly went down well in the sunny beer garden. Not quite so taken with the Famous Belgian, but the Hospital Porter was gorgeous – the kind of beer that ticks all the right boxes for me. Must return to eat there at some point – it’s a very impressive venue and the staff were friendly and attentive.

Glad you liked it! Meantime might be getting big, but they’re certainly not afraid to experiment and it doesn’t always work out. A price worth paying for the variety, I think. We didn’t get to try the kellerbier but will definitely be back later in the year to give it a go (we were tempted to go this afternoon — the weather is gorgeous!).

I thought we were going for something along the lines of ‘Cascadian Dark Ale’ or some such nonsense…Am i getting confused? I’m with you on this one – can’t be pale and dark at the same time. India Dark Ale?

I had a very Dark Star and Thoenbridge themed weekend in London. Cask had no Dark Star on as they have about 460 pallets of beer from oop North filling the cellar (Thornbridge I presume). Their new Murmansk was good though. The Bull in Horton Kirkby (Kent) had lots of Dark Star however, all excellent.

@Leigh India Dark Ale is a tidy classification
@Barm Beer, ale, does it matter? Even lager is ale according to my mates from Liverpool!

You’re on to something there, Mark — some colleagues of mine from Liverpool/Cheshire will refer to a session on Bacardi Breezers and white wine as a “night on the ales”.

“Black IPA” is a silly title for a beer that clearly isn’t and smacks, frankly, of gimmickry. On whether it’s actually any good, the jury is split, which must say something as usually Thornbridge gets pretty well 100% approval. There seems to be a certain type of drinker that goes for it, but my feeling is that it went wrong somewhere and it became one of those beers that brewers like to pass off as “experimental”.

Meant also to say-had a chat with the landlord of Cask last week. He is majoring now on Thornbridge (glasses and all) so expect to see less of Dark Star, in the immediate future at least.

Thanks for the intel from Cask, Tyson. That’s a shame — it’s easier to come by Thornbridge than Dark Star in London, at least in our usual stamping grounds. But we’ll cope.

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