Beavertown Brewing, London – Black Betty,
7.4% (£3.60, 33cl)
Black Betty (bam-ba-lam) is Beavertown’s black India pale ale, a hoppy strong ale that is dark in colour without being full-bodied like stouts and porters, and weighs in at a respectable 7.4 per cent.
It pours a wonderful deep chocolate brown, with a rough, off-white head that throws off pungent aromas of mangoes, passion fruit and coconut. A faint aroma of chocolate reminds us of the presence of malt beneath the hops, but this is very much a hop-head’s brew.
The flavour is sweet to begin with, with a rounded chocolate edge. An avalanche of fruity hops fall into place soon afterwards – spicy bitterness prickles the tongue while grapes, pineapples, and passion fruit cascade over the top.
Some roasted malt astringency comes in the finish and balances things out slightly, but the hops certainly lead the way here. Wonderfully fruity and intense, Black Betty is far more than a one-hit-wonder.
Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, 48 Stonegate, York