I'm not really one for labelling or cataloging beer, and I'm certainly not a style slave, but when you drink beer, it's nice to get a sense of where it's from, and the ethos behind it.
There was a tweet today from The Reluctant Scooper asking Is Moor JJJ IPA an IPA or a barleywine?. Normally I wouldn't get involved in this line of questioning, but (a) it's a bloody good beer and (b) when I tried it, I was surprised to be disappointed that it tasted like a really great West Coast Double IPA.
Now don't get me wrong, I love that whole USA West Coast IPA thing - it produces some of the most enjoyable beers I've ever had the pleasure to drink. But most of those have been imports, a direct link to the progenitor of a style, from a particular locality. Having a stunningly good DIPA coming from the West Country rather than the West Coast is simultaneously (a) a pleasure and (b) confusing. Yes, I know Justin is not of these isles, but still....
It's in the nature of beer that it can be brewed anywhere. If there's a brewer with enough gumption, they can make almost any style of beer, anywhere they chose. I guess the exception would be the classic Belgian lambics - they have a sense of place, and nothing really comes close to replicating the beers that are so intimately tied, of necessity, to a geographical locality. Actually, plenty of people come close (Russian River, for the win), but even thought the replicas are great, there is still a sense of ersatz rather than echt.
Still, these are the facts: Moor JJJ IPA is a great beer. It seems that no-one can really pin this beer down. I don't think these two points are mutually exclusive, unless someone can convince me otherwise.