I was at a brewery in Southern California early last year and a brewer handed me a small cup of warm wort to sample from a batch he was in the middle of brewing. “What is it?” I asked. He shrugged.
“It was a bunch of leftover bits from bags and batches. I just decided to brew something with it. Maybe a Hoppy Brown Porter? or…an India Chocolate Ale..with… Never mind. I have no idea.”
Unlike wine, which is often labeled for the grapes that produced it, beer is hard to name. Sure, there are certain designations that make it easy to classify some brews, but there is plenty of beer that doesn’t fit any category. This isn’t a problem as much as it’s an opportunity. It’s evidence that beer is evolving at a pace so rapid, categories have a hard time keeping up.
In 1987 the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) had just 12 categories in which to award medals. In 2015, there was 92, many with subcategories. It’s a spectacular example of the evolution of beer.
For this recipe, I used a beer with a designation that’s only been recognized for the past handful of years: the Black IPA. Also called a Cascading Dark Ale or American Black Ale, it’s a hybrid of different styles. It has the looks of a porter with the spirit of an IPA. It has a bit of the roasty characters of a darker beer, but tastes light and hoppy like an IPA. Should you try it? Absolutely. Will you love it? Who knows, but at least you’ll have tried it. That’s part of the adventure of beer.
A few to try:
Bear Republic //
21st Amendment // Back in Black
Southern Tier // Iniquity
Founders Inspired // Artist Black IPA
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp honey
- ½ tsp fresh garlic, grated with a microplane
- 2 tbs fresh lime juice
- ½ cup beer (black IPA, or hoppy red ale will work great)
- 1 lbs raw shrimp
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- In small bowl add the cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, chili, garlic powder, honey, garlic, lime juice and beer.
- Add the shrimp to a large re-sealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over the shrimp. Chill and allow to marinate for 1 hour and up to 24.
- Preheat the grill to medium high.
- Skewer the shrimp on metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers.
- Grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, don’t over cook.
- Sprinkle with cilantro.