The second brewery shop that I popped into, while up in Scotland recently, was Cromarty Brewing Co. They are, of course, based near the town of Cromarty on the Black Isle and it’s their 10th Anniversary this year! I picked up a few of their beers but ‘Black Hop Down’ sounded the most interesting due to the style. You don’t often see Black IPA’s, a style which combines the roasted nature of stouts with the hoppiness of IPAs. It comes in at a rather boozy 7.2% ABV.
Visually the beer is charcoal black with a beige head. A really complex nose to the beer with light fruity, citrus notes on the front end but then followed up by ground coffee. The contrast between these two aspects is clear in the body as well for my tastes. Hop forward grapefruit flavours to begin with, before it hits you with a roasted coffee bitterness on the finish. Surprisingly drinkable considering the ABV but my one criticism would be it felt a touch thin.
A quick note on the bottle art: Nice and simple but very attractive. The section with the black hop has a smooth texture, contrasting to the rougher style for the rest of the label.
I love Black IPAs. I think the ability to successfully marry the fruity flavours of hops with the roasted taste that comes with malts in dark beers is fantastically skillful. Cromarty have done a cracking job here in my opinion. Easy drinking for a beer that looks heavy. The hops and the malts don’t clash at all and compliment each other well. Important to note is that it is a bottle conditioned beer with a decent amount of sediment if not poured carefully! If the sound of this beer has peaked your interest the head over to my Instagram to be in for a chance to win this beer and a few others!
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- Hops: Simcoe, Chinook & Columbus
- Malt: Not Available
- IBU: 69
- ABV: 7.2%
- Gluten Free: No
- Vegan: Yes!
- Purchase Location: Cromarty Brewery