Hammerpot Ripa Black IPA (500ml, 5.0% ABV)

The Hammerpot Brewery is located east of Arundel and has been brewing beer since 2005. Rather than aiming at the traditional English market, or making newer American style beers, they sort of do both, with some Aussie influence thrown in for good measure. I’ve long been a fan of their award-winning Bottle Wreck Porter (4.7%) so a chance to taste their Black IPA is too good to pass up.

The bottle features a suitably ghoulish picture on the label – a skeleton, the grim reaper, bats, a tombstone. All good cheery stuff. Could this be an October seasonal beer, by any chance?

Clearly the brewer decided to use all the American hops beginning with a ‘C’ for this one: Citra, Chinook, Columbus and Cascade.*

HammerpotHolding the glass up to the light, the beer is a dark burgundy rather than truly black. A little lacy foam resides in the glass after pouring, and the aroma is a curious combination of coffee, treacle and mango.

The taste comes in three stages: dark, roasty malt warmth, followed by relatively restrained citrus (for an IPA), then after the swallow a late burst of grapefruit and pine more typical of these US hop varieties.

Black IPA is like having your cake and eating it – you get all the zing of a generous hopping, but also the earthy undercurrents of a stout or porter. Hammerpot have done a fine job with this one.

* Okay, not quite all of them – there’s also Centennial, and Cluster, and Crystal … It’s amazing how many hops begin with a ‘C’.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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