I was at a brewery in Southern California a few years ago 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,” he said. “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 had just 12 categories in which to award medals. In 2019, there was 102, 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 Cascadian 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.

Grilled Chili Lime Beer Shrimp

Serves 4-6, as an appetizer

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon fresh garlic, grated with a microplane
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ cup Deschutes Brewery Hop in the Dark
1 pound 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, or up to 24 hours.

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 and serve.

Special to Sip Northwest, Jackie Dodd (AKA @TheBeeroness) is an award-winning beer and food writer and photographer based in Seattle. Her third book, “LUSH,” is due out later this year. This recipe originally ran on her comprehensive beer-and-cooking website, The Beeroness, in 2016. Click here for another one of her tasty recipes!