Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Craft Beer Crosscut 12.11.18: A Flight of Cascadian Dark Ale

Ron Swarner


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsWhen electricity left my house, I kept a running journal of my brush with sort of peril, kind of. Here, now, is an unexpurgated account of the Greatest Struggle Mankind Has Ever Known.

4:45 p.m.

Electricity goes out for the first time. I am prepared — flashlight, spare batteries, craft beer and whatnot.

5:27 p.m.

Already, I am plagued by massive waves of boredom and ennui. I now realize exactly why so many Amish youths turn to crime.

6:18 p.m.

Play my unplugged electric guitar. Manage to work out a passable version of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” from memory. This is the most notable guitar-related accomplishment I’ve had in three years.

7:13 p.m.

Darkness sets in, and by darkness I mean Black IPAs. Is it a Black IPA… an American Black Ale (ABA) … an India Black Ale (IBA) … or a Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA)? The name of this style, and in some part the style itself, causes me consternation.

7:38 p.m.

Without the constant barrage of music and ambient TV white noise that usually fills my house, listening to my own thoughts becomes unavoidable. Black India Pale Ale is an oxymoron … unless you mean a black ale that tastes more like an India Pale Ale, than it does a stout or other dark ale. Then, maybe the name works.

8:46 p.m.

I long for some form of televised entertainment. I don’t even watch much TV, but I’m jonesing right now. A rerun of One Day at a Time. Televised soccer. A paid political advertisement for a juice maker. Anything.

10:01 p.m.

I’ve already had several really stupid internal arguments, and I finally realize why solitary confinement is considered such a punishment. On the other hand, I finally decide that Cascadian Dark Ale may be a better name. Cascadian is a reference to the heavy use of hops from the Northwest region in the style. It is also in this region where many of the early examples were brewed, if not where the style originated.

11:13 p.m.

Fall asleep earlier than I have in two years. Realize that electricity is partly to blame for my chronic insomnia.

7:56 a.m.

Wake up, head to Peaks and Pints and start writing Craft Beer Crosscut 12.11.18: A Flight of Cascadian Dark Ale.

Craft Beer Crosscut 12.11.18: A Flight of Cascadian Dark Ale

Gilgamesh-Vader-CDA-TacomaGilgamesh Vader CDA

6.4% ABV, 60 IBU

The Salem, Oregon brewery teams up with neighboring The Governor’s Cup Coffee Roasters for this Cascadian dark ale aged with lightly roasted coffee beans, tawny malts and gradient hop flavors. The brew smells strongly of hops, and hits with a heavy vanilla front. Dig deeper to find espresso bitterness, caramel, malted sweetness, and a hint of dark fruit. We found ample Darth coffee and cocoa up front. It’s a well-balanced, easy drinker.

Reubens-Brews-Ink-Black-Imperial-IPAReuben’s Brews Ink

8.1% ABV, 63 IBU

Reuben’s Brews’ Ink Black Imperia IPA has all the awards, which isn’t a shocker considering it’s freaking delicious. A bold citrus and floral hop profile blots a roasted malt and caramel nose. Taste has a good hop presence with brown sugar, pine and semi-sweet toasted malts. On, and the Seattle brewery threw a little rye in because that’s what they do.

7 Seas Boobytraps

7% ABV, 65 IBU

The third “Seasonal Series” of the year has escaped from the 7 Seas Brewing’s tanks. “We are very excited to release this beer style in cans, a company favorite, adding the ability to travel and traverse the wild landscapes of the Pacific Northwest with a true Northwest brew that will hold up to the Fall season,” says 7 Seas’ Director of Brewing Operations and co-founder, Travis Guterson. “It’s a super flavorful and bold IPA, yet maintains a crisp quality of light bodied drinkability that is perfect for the cool months of the year.” Light and smooth, Boobytraps is loaded with piney hops and a hint of roasted malts for a lingering, flavorful finish.

HUB-Complete-Darkness-TacomaHUB Complete Darkness

8.5% ABV

Hopworks Urban Brewery’s (HUB) Organic Secession Cascadian Dark Ale was first released in the summer of 2009 for the North American Organic Brewers Festival. Brewed with organic Pilsner, C60, Chocolate and Black malts and a healthy addition of Magnum, Cascade, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight and Mt. Hood hops for aroma of chocolate, slight roast, resin and piney hops. Taste follows the nose for a well-balanced, super smooth mouthfeel.

New-Belgium-Voodoo-Ranger-Imperial-Black-IPA-TacomaNew Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial Black IPA

10% ABV, 90 IBU

With a smoky, herbal aroma, balanced sweetness and lingering bitterness, this 10% imperial black IPA is New Belgium Brewing Voodoo Ranger’s biggest, boldest IPA yet. The Colorado brewery added the Carafa malt later in the brew process to deemphasize its roasty flavors while still getting that dark-as-night color. Combine that with Centennial and Columbus — two old school hops — and newer-to-the-scene Azacca, this is a black IPA has big, complex tastes of leather caramel and malt with a balancing pine and spicy hops undertone.