That said, it's something which I don't think I've ever tried before. A Belgian brewed and exclusively Belgian hopped black IPA. What I didn't realise when I bought this bottle is that the Westkust in the name comes from the single variety of Belgian hop used in the brewing of the beer - and what a hop it turns out to be.
This pours a thick and murky pitch black with just a touch of haze and a cappucino coloured frothy head.
The smell is fruity, fresh espresso and a touch of black currant, backed up by a faint burnt herbiness, like bbq scorched rosemary twigs.
The taste is initially sharp and bitter with a zip of pine and stewed orange before a wash of sweet roasted malt turns to a bitter, ashy, tongue dryingly bitter finish with a lasting flavour of spicy, resinous hops.
Despite its heft, all 9.2% of it, its a beautifully balanced black IPA that drinks well below its weight, though the bitterness and intensity of flavour does make it rather heavy going in a batten-down-the-hatches and set aside a couple of hours kind of way.
Well worth a try and I imagine it would age really well, though the scales would certainly tip towards the espresso and away from the bitter hoppinness over time.
P.s. Going back to that hop variety, anyone know of other beers which use it? A Google search just brings up the beer above rather than info on the hop.