Two beers.

Here are some thoughts on a couple of  interesting beers which arrived at Liquid Diet World Headquarters this month for me to sample.

One was a  Black IPA interpretation and I have admit I could have nothing but love in my heart for Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA on principle because of how its name is explained on the Stone Brewing blog:

The name is Stone Brewing President & co-founder Steve Wagner’s chuckling jab at those looking to lay territorial claim to the Black IPA style.

“There’s this small faction of people that seems to think it can call Black IPAs ‘Cascadian Dark Ales,’ historical accuracy be damned,” Wagner explains. “So, we thought we’d lightheartedly lay claim to our own style, dubbing it ‘Escondidian,’ both as an homage to our hometown of Escondido, CA and as a gentle ribbing to those Black IPA fans worshipping a false Cascadian idol.

Why does that warm my cockles? I wrote about the Cascadian controversy in Ale Street News last summer and love to see Stone standing up for what I believe to be the most appropriate history of the style.

The beer itself? Well-made and as balanced as a West Coast hop-bomb can be, but just too much for me. Glad I had a bottle all to myself to explore at my leisure but it takes hops further than I am willing to travel.

The other arrival was Outblack, which I’ve also seen described as a Black IPA, a  Belgian Strong Ale which is a collaboration between Belgium’s De Struise an  Stillwater Artisanal Ales . It has the bitterness of an IPA and is, best way I can describe it, somewhat confused. There’s just too much going on here. Once you have the big hop presence, you have to work with it, not against it. Not a bad beer, indeed an interesting beer because it’s so unusual, but I found it…awkward.

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