Saturday, 5 July 2014

Beer Tasting: Beavertown Holy Cowbell India Stout


Beavertown recently put out another dark, hoppy beer. They call this one an 'India Stout', suggesting that it straddles the line between IPA and stout. I'm not sure why they wouldn't simply call it a black IPA, but I suppose that at 5.6% it's slightly below what could be considered IPA-strength territory. Nevertheless, this beer carries on the proud Beavertown tradition of making absolutely stonking roasty, well-hopped beers.

I can remember the first time I tried Black Betty - Beavertown's flagship black IPA - shortly after it came out back in November 2012 and being absolutely blown away by it. Beavertown hadn't really made a name for themselves at that point, so to have something that I considered world-class from a relatively unknown London brewery came as something of a surprise - albeit a very welcome one. Indeed, in the ensuing two years, the beer has made quite a name for itself and currently ranks, in a tie with two other beers, as the 8th highest-rated black IPA in the world, according to RateBeer. And at the same time, Beavertown has made quite a name for itself, rocketing into the craft beer collective conscious as one of the UK's top breweries.

The Holy Cowbell takes its place as Black Betty's slightly milder younger sibling, but by no means is it tame. It pours deep, black-brown with a thick, lasting beige foam head - it looks fantastic. There are heavily roasted malts in the nose, some burnt popcorn, cocoa, earth. The flavour is light-medium sweet with further hefty roasted malt character, some tar, burnt molasses, raisins, baking cocoa, burnt toast, rich earth and burnt pine. Medium bodied with fine, massaging carbonation and a chewy mouthfeel. It's well balanced to finish and it has dynamic dark, roasted malt character, plenty of bittersweet cocoa, some oily chocolate notes, scorched earth, burnt wood, some ripe and leathery dark fruits, and more resinous and burnt pine. This is an excellent beer, and there's loads of depth for being sub-6%. The mouthfeel, in particular, is truly exceptional. Basically, what you've got here is another superlative hoppy dark beer from Beavertown. Well done. (Score: 4.1/5.0)

Be sure to pop by Beavertown's new taproom, which has its grand opening today, 5 July. See our Events page for further information.

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