Cork’s 8 Degrees have a limited edition range of dark beers available this Winter. The trio have been dubbed the ‘Back to Black Series’. I wanted to wait until I tried all three before writing about them. My wife picked up the Aztec and the Russian Imperial Stouts for me in Dublin’s Celtic Whiskey Shop. I nearly thought I was going to have to pop my
‘Order beer from the interweb’ cherry. I have thus far resisted as I enjoy going into ‘real’ shops and hate waiting for gratification. Sooner or later though I am going to have to bite the bullet.
Anyway, lunchtime New Year’s Eve found me close to The Black Sheep in Dublin and I said I bet they have the Zeus Black IPA. And they did, in bottles. It has nice piney hops, apparently they’re called Zeus hops! There is some toasted maltiness as well. It’s a very pleasant beer. I did find myself comparing it to Thornbridge’s Raven Black IPA though as the yardstick all others are measured by. It fell a little short, but I’m not writing it off. By the way isn’t Black IPA a bit of an oxymoron? Shouldn’t it be Black Hoppy Ale or even as was brilliantly suggested to me today IBA (India Black Ale)?!?
Back home in the Midlands I popped open the Aztec Stout. The real stand out part of this beer is the spicy zinginess. That’s down to the chipotle chillies. There’s a whopping long list of ingredients that were included in this beer. The chillis, cinnamon, cocoa, oats and vanilla but it all hangs together perfectly. This is an outstanding winter beer.
Lastly but not leastly I had the Russian Imperial Stout, I thought it a fitting finale to 2013. It’s a rich beast of a beer. It’s 9% but there’s no overpowering alcohol taste. There is some coffee in there and it’s the slowest burner of the three. I had this with a homemade semi dark chocolate brownie and it was a beautiful marriage. Three to try, while you can!