Friday, 17 December 2010

Conqueror Black IPA (Windsor & Eton)

A Black IPA? Madness. However with my love for dark ales and Ed's propensity for IPAs have we found the ideal Bunker pint?

Here it is, in my hand, in possibly the smartest looking bottle I've seen this year. This is a relatively unusual beer type in the UK, with Thornbridge's Raven IPA the only other I'm aware of. The Americans are slightly more used to it with their "Cascadian Dark Ale" variant, a craft type familiar to many over there.

Windsor historically was a thriving brewing town, and new operation Windsor & Eton are aiming to bring the name back to being representative of fine beer.

It pours a deep black, with a fleeting brown head. Once the head disappears others may well think you have a pint of coke on the go, sitting flatly with a scrying mirror darkness.

The nose is a peculiar hybrid of roasted smells and pine, and is very welcoming in a wintry way.

First taste is a roasted malt explosion., and the nearest beer I can compare it to is Kingstone's marvellous Challenger. The bitterness is almost overwhelming and it makes no bones about being something other than a session drink. This is Event Beer, and a fine one at that.

The IPA character is plainly apparent here, it's hoppy, dry, strong (5% abv) and rather bitter, but like Challenger the bitterness becomes moreish the further down the pint one drinks.

Combine this with classic dark roasted flavours and this is makes for a wonderful creamy cold night pint. I can't wait to dig into the other two beers we have from W&E.

8/10 - Courageous and rewarding collision of ale styles. This brewery is one to watch.

- The Broadside


  1. Nice wouldn't mind getting hold of some of that myself. There's a few other Breweries that do this style I know of; Saltaire with Cascadian Black ( - bottom of page), Summer Wine Brewery and Roosters have recently done a one as well I think!

  2. Thanks Callum!

    I must admit it's a new thing for me here, but if the others are along the lines of this number it may turn out to be a new favourite genre for me. Will check out the ones you mentioned.

  3. It's worth noting that the "Cascadian Dark Ale" vs "Black IPA" thing is a fairly hot button topic over here. Here on the east coast, they are definitely the latter.

  4. Thanks Kaszeta, always good to know the thoughts in various countries and regions.

    "Cascadian Dark Ale" hasn't really reached these shores en masse yet, there's an import idea..