India Pale Ale is now so broad a church that beers of many styles and strengths are now badged as IPA.
At 7.2% ABV, Dark Star’s potently-strong version is from the richer, fuller, deeper end of the spectrum, with an enticingly whiskyish, almost leathery aroma. A generous dose of hops creates a taste packed with full-on fruity bitterness.
This brown ale – for it isn’t pale in the traditional meaning of the word – owes as much to the influence of Belgium as it does to Burton-on-Trent, once the spiritual home of IPA.
Yet it comes from neither. Dark Star is based at Horsham in Sussex, and has styled this beer as a tribute to the legendary Achouffe brewery in Belgium.
Achouffe in turn brew a McChouffe – their take on the ‘Scotch’ style of brewing, which has been popular in Belgium since locals were first exposed to the style by Scottish soldiers in the First World War.
One style feeds another, innovation draws from centuries of tradition, today’s trend-setters build on yesterday’s expertise. Brewing evolves and grows and spreads, endlessly enriching the culture.
Star Ratings (each out of 10)