A beer with controversial roots fit for a king!

Brewing history always seems a lively forum for debate.

What you can always vouch on is that no two individuals see things quite the same way when it comes to the past, and it is individual 'interpretation' of the facts that often leads to hard held (and at times) intransigent beliefs.

Black IPA is one such beer style that provokes similar debate. For some it is simply a variation of a style produced in the 1820s (be it under a different guise as East Indian Porter as produced in Burton on Trent) whilst for others it has no historical lineage as such, and is simply a corruption of the 'pale' ale style.

One thing about living in the present is that we can at least look at events in the cold light of day - and Black IPA, intriguingly, was virtually unknown amongst British brewers as little as five years ago.

It's creation is credited to the late Greg Noonan of Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington, USA, who along with Glenn Walter first produced the style back in 1994 - under the name of Blackwatch IPA.

In 2010 the US Brewers Association produced specific guidelines for the style under the controversial 'American Style India Black Ale' banner. 

Today however, in the UK, it is becoming a growing fixture amongst many a micro brewer - and for one brewery in particular a standard bearer - Windsor & Eton Brewery.

Conqueror Black IPA in draught at 5% alc/vol. has been part of the W&E range since their inception in 2009. Eventually in 2010, after trials in both bottle conditioned and sterile filtered form, the beer moved into bottle as a permanent feature.

For the brewery the 5%alc/vol. bottled version was always seen purely as the entry level for the IPA, well aware that many British 'paler' IPA's brewed by national and regional breweries fell well  short of the historical strength. 


Weighing in at 7.4%alc/vol. this may well be considered an 'Imperial' in the land of the styles birth!

The bottle size of 330ml is ideally suited to beers of this strength which need to be savoured to be fully appreciated.

The beer itself has lively aromatic floral hops on the aroma of pine and tropical fruit notes, with a warming richness on the palate combining interwoven flavours of black cherry, liquorice root, and subtle coffee bean with a touch of vanilla. The hop flavours are rightly to the fore with the roasted notes adding back bone to the style, but never dominating. There is a lingering finish of clean beguiling hop flavours that invite you to take another sip!

This is a very impressive brew by W&E and shows that they can produce beers at the higher alcohol level that are deliciously complex and full of character.

 William himself would have been justifiably proud of such a beer and would no doubt cry - Hail the Conqueror! ....much to his subjects delight!


Conqueror 1075  bottles are available from Noble Green Wine Company http://www.noblegreenwines.co.uk/default.aspx

Or contact the brewery direct for further stockists http://www.webrew.co.uk/

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