Who said an IPA can only be pale? The black IPA, or American / Cascadian Dark Ale, came from the American craft beer scene and plays with flavours you don’t usually associate with an IPA.

The Black IPA beer style started surfacing in the US in the late 1990s, and only around 2009 or so became accepted, when more examples of this style started hitting store shelves. What sets it apart from other dark ales is the use of Cascade Hops.

Rorschach Brewing Company is only a couple of months old. They’re located on Eastern Avenue, sandwiched between Leslieville and the Beaches in Toronto, and their offerings are constantly rotating.

Up for review, this week is The Nekyia Black IPA, available on tap and (as writing this review) in the bottle shop.

The Nekyia Black IPA is, well, black. As in, you can’t see through it and from a distance you would think it was a stout. Not this one – the head is much airier with bubbles.

You get both malty and hoppy tastes happening, with the hops just edging ahead. This is not the usual dark ale, porter or stout you’re used to drinking. The Nekyia clocks in a 6% ABV so, like a regular IPA, it has some kick to it.

Generally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to beer styles, and I should also declare I like my dark ales and porters.

This is my first black IPA, and it’s a really nice beer – something I would reach for in a heartbeat if I want to try something just a bit off the beaten path.

If you’re an IPA purist, this is definitely something you should try at least once.

Now here’s the bad news – the Nekyia Black IPA is only available at Rorschach Brewery, and it may, or may not be carried forward in their next run of beer. I really hope it is.

In the meantime, if you are in or near Toronto, I’d make my way to Rorschach sooner than later. Of course, I’ll be keeping an eye out for other black IPAs in the future to taste and review.


Bill Smith
Bill Smith is a storyteller, writer, blogger, photography geek, ski bum, explorer and outdoors enthusiast. He has been seen in Toronto, Oakville and off the beaten path. Favourite beers include well-brewed IPAs, brown ales, porters and pale ales.
Bill Smith
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