Magic Rock: Magic 8 Ball Chardonnay Barrel With Brett (England: Black IPA:  7% ABV)

Visual: Black. Small coffee head, mainly around the rim of the glass.

Nose: Very fresh grapefruit. Toffee. Lightly charred oak. Apricot. Grapes.

Body: Bitter. Hoppy as hell. Sweet peach. Juicy grape centre. Grapefruit. Caramel. Milky chocolate.

Finish: Charring. White grapes. Spicy rye. Bitterness and hops. White wine. Caramel and bitter chocolate.

Conclusion:  This beer arrived with perfect timing, being on tap just after I’d got some attention to the blog from a paper article on black IPAs. While I was still chipper about that I go to Brewdog and this little beauty is on.

It’s got all the bitterness you would expect and a lovely chocolate back. Despite the initial bitter assault that is beyond impressive you actually find the beer itself is smoothly textured. There is a really juicy fruitiness mid body, all grapes and peaches and you can really get your teeth into it. This makes a great balance between a beast of bitterness and a probably oak induced smoothness and easy to drink fruit juiciness.

Jonny at Brewdog Bristol advised that I grabbed this as my first beer of the session as it was nearing the end of the keg,. Normally I would go for lighter beers first, but I took his advice and thank him for it. I have never had a bad Black IPA yet, but the mix of fruit to bitterness makes this on stand out above the rest. It nestles nicely between the insanity of sublimely self righteous ale, and the easy drinking of Equity For Punks 2011. Not having tried the original magic 8 ball I can’t say how much was brought from the cask ageing but I suspect the grapes and freshness are it’s calling card.

BIPAs are good, this is great. Kicks you teeth in then gives you the flavour to make you forgive it.  Very nice

Background: I had to look up what Brett was. Turns out its that cool yeast used for a lot of lambics, sour ales, etc – full name Brettanomyces. Well that’s what  five minutes googling told me. It could mean something else entirely. This was found at Brewdog Bristol after their Magic Rock night and came highly recommended. So I drank it. Anything else would be rude.