Good evening again readers
am afraid the main reason for this post is that I want to know if I can now post again successfully! Formatting really kicked my ass earlier, as our cross Atlantic chums might remark...
However, in order to create a vague semblance of beer relevance, I can report that last week I had several tasty pints, starting with about 4 of yummy Jaipur in the White Lion at Heeley, whilst on a homework collecting errand for Waaaarf.
I also got to the Sheffield Tap, where I had two delicious pints of Kirkstall Black Band Porter, which is the first beer of theirs I tried back in June, and I absolutely loved it. It didn't disappoint this time, but I followed it with a rather cold and hard to drink Dark Arts from Magic Rock. I really like their beers, but trying this one, that seemed not to work terribly well, made me wonder about the reasons behind fusion and hybrid beers.
Well there are a few subtleties, notably in strength, and the tasting notes for Dark Arts allude to some quite complex fruitcake and malty flavours (which when served cold seemed to be washed away by the tide of bitterness), so its clear there are intended to be two different beers here. But there are two definite characteristics that appear inseparable - high bitterness, and very little balancing malt or roast malt flavours.
No doubt Black IPA exists to remove the need for the evils of balancing maltiness or god forbid, sweetness, but there is a strange dichotomy then when we have a beer described as a stout (Magic Rock describe theirs as a "surreal" stout which I agree suggests one should expect some challenging or surprising taste experiences), that pays so much attention to and promotes the flavours of bitter high alpha hops. What is the point in adding strong citrus hops to a stout, or likewise dark roasted malt to an IPA? Arguably you could instead concentrate as much effort into producing one IPA, one stout and another high hopped pale ale and make them all excellent examples of their art.
The proof of the pudding's in the taste of course - and to demonstrate how that works, in the end I poured half the Dark Arts into the warm Kirkstall porter glass on a vaguely equal ratio and got the best beer of the week! .