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Grand Teton Brewing Company - Trout Hop Black IPA: Would a rose by any other name...

Just the other day while at work, Ken McMullen, head brewer at Limestone Brewing Company, showed me a bottle he bought of Trout Hop by Grand Teton Brewing Company.  This afternoon I was perusing the Discount Liquors by my house and stumbled upon that very beer on their shelves, so I decided to give it a try.

On the label Trout Hop is considered a Black India Pale Ale, but there is a lot of debate over the naming of this style of Beer.  The Brewers Association has set guidelines for the 2010 GABF Awards in which they have specified the category as India Black Ale: American-Style.  The style originated in the Cascadian region of the Pacific Northwest and there they would like to call the style Cascadian Dark Ale.  What is the correct name?  Can the beer be black and pale at the same time?  Can the beer be considered American-Style when many of the first examples where brewed in British Columbia, Canada?  If Cascadian Dark is the correct term than what about this beer which was brewed in Victor, Idaho?  Whatever it is called it is a new style with which I am eager to get acquainted.

I poured this beer into my glass of choice and noticed a dark cola-like color with an impressive frothy cream colored head and there is light to medium carbonation.  The aroma is roasty with just a hint of citrus and pine.  The prominent flavors are toast, coffee, and grapefruit and it has a medium body.

I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer but I have tried a few from the style category and this one is good, but just isn’t my absolute favorite.  Do with that what you will. If you see it definitely give it a try, just know that there a better examples.

If I had to choose an appropriate name I would most likely call it an India Black Ale leaving off the American-Style from the naming.  If other countries want to brew it they can add their country of origin as a qualifier, but it is not necessary for the original. On the other hand there is a reason why IPAs have India in their name, but this style does not share that history.  What would you call it?

ABV: 8.5%

Consumed: Mother Earth Globe Glass

Verdict: Buy a Twelve-Pack

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Reader Comments (1)

Regarding paragraph 2: The style originated in Vermont in the mid 90s. Probably the Vermont Pub and Brewery in Burlington to be exact. Ale Street News had a nice history titled "Black and Bitter" in August. The link is probably too long to paste here and I don't know how to do the short link thing, but its on their website.

Cascadia comes in because that is where the hops most commonly used in Black IPAs are grown; it shouldn't imply origination.

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

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