Good Karma Beer Co have had a busy few years in the alcohol-free beer industry. With 10 different nolo beers under their belts, and a further 5 collaborations with breweries such as No Frills Joe and Pretty Decent Beer Co, acclaim for their beers has been growing, as has traction in the marketplace. Their collaboration with Cloudwater, an IPA named ‘Free Your Mind’, was featured in the ‘Beers with Big Ideas’ four-pack of craft beers sold in Tesco stores throughout the country. Good Karma’s Dharma was released at the end of October 2022, just in time to coincide with Deepavali (or Diwali), the Indian festival of lights. Like many of the brewer’s other beers, it is named after a concept found in Indian religions, in this case ‘Dharma’ – which can represent cosmic law and order, the path of righteousness, or moral translation. Concepts that can be applied to anyone, no matter their religion or the path they walk in life. Anyway… onto the beer.
Dharma is a BIPA, which gives me the opportunity to explain another acronym in the beer industry. BIPA (as many of you will have worked out already) stands for Black India Pale Ale. IPAs were originally specifically brewed for the long journey by ship to India, with the intense hopping helping to preserve the ale and mask any spoilage. But it wasn’t just IPAs that were sent over to the subcontinent, porters and stouts also undertook the voyage, but in a much more heavily-hopped form. While the BIPA style fell out of favour, it was revived in the 2000s by many of the craft brewers in the States, eager to show off ‘rediscovered’ styles. BIPAs tend to have a maltier profile than standard IPAs, with roasted and dark malt appearing in both the aroma and taste of the beer. But this doesn’t mean the hops take a backseat, and you’ll get the same hoppy notes you’re used to in the IPA style. Good Karma have used both Citra and Mosaic in Dharma – an ever-popular combo, offering citrus bitterness and tropical fruitiness. Enough waiting, let’s crack open the can and taste our first ever AF BIPA.
Pouring the beer out from the can we get a dark ruby cola coloured liquid, which is semi-opaque. A fluffy caramel-coloured head forms nicely, shrinks back slightly but is a stayer for most of the drink. On the nose citrus aromas are dominant, grapefruit and juicy lemon, with a background of roasted malts, some caramel sweetness and a pinch of spice. It looks like a rich roasty stout, smells like a hoppy IPA – intriguing!
When we taste we’re greeted by citrus bitterness, grapefruit rind astringency but also orange/lemon juiciness. Some undertones of resinous pine join the bitter flavours, but it’s not all acerbity on show. There’s a fair amount of malty sweetness coming through – fragrant caramel, toffee, with a background of roasted grains. The combination of flavours is pretty well balanced, but perhaps feels dialled down slightly. The body is medium and the carbonation level is not too high, giving a good pleasing mouthfeel to the beer. The finish is bitter, with hints of liquorice.
Good Karma Dharma Black IPA is the best yet from the brewer in my opinion, and a great example of a rare style of beer. Sitting astride two different breeds of brew, it manages to combine the deep, caramel-esque roasted malts of a porter and the hoppiness of an IPA without any of the issues that a clash of the two styles could bring. It just needs to be more roasty, and more hoppy!
Buy Good Karma Dharma Black IPA
You may find Good Karma’s beers available at your local bottle shop if they have an alcohol-free section. Otherwise, your best option to buy Dharma Black IPA is online:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Additional nutritional information not given. Boo, hiss!|
|Water, Malted Barley Extract, Hops, Hop Extract, Maltodextrin, Potassium Sorbate|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||Good Karma Beer Co – https://goodkarma.beer/|
Good Karma Dharma Black IPA Review
A great example of a style rarely seen in the non-alcoholic world. The combination of hops and roasted malts works well, but could maybe be cranked up just a bit.