Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cascadian Dark Ales — Deschutes vs. Laughing Dog

Deschutes Hop in the Dark CDA
(Cascadian Dark Ale)
ABV 6.5% IBU 70

Pitch black.
Crazy combination of roasted malt and intense hops, like coffee candy infused with hops.
Creamy, sweet and rich with nice hop bitterness. Coffee with sugar and lemon juice.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Bitter coffee.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Laughing Dog Dogzilla Black IPA
ABV 6.9% IBU 69

Dark ruby red.
Pine sap hoppiness with some smoky roasted malts and sweet caramel.
Big citrus hops with plenty of sweet malts to back it up.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy.
Citrus peel.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

Winner by unanimous decision
: Deschutes.
Cascadian Dark Ale vs. Black IPA? Well, actually they both fall into the same style category. Problem is, no one can decide on what to call it. Basically these are both beers that have the appearance of a dark stout or porter, but the flavor of a hoppy India Pale Ale. But, honestly, who cares what you call them — are they good? That's the important question.

Based on these two examples the answer is an emphatic "yes!" Both of these beers are excellent but in totally different ways. The Dogzilla focuses more on the hoppy side of the style while the Hop in the Dark leans more toward the roasted malts/coffee flavor and aroma. Hopheads will LOVE the Dogzilla. It's bold and unapologetically hoppy. However, the Hop in the Dark would just not be denied. From its gorgeous pitch black color to its mellow coffee finish it is an engaging beer that is creamy, hoppy, roasty and delicious. Do yourself a favor and try both of these beers. They both are fun interpretations of an emerging style that will challenge your preconceptions about what beer should taste like.

Extra Credit: The Hop in the Dark has a great label designed by Casey Burns. It features a night scene that implies some skinny dipping. But look back there in the background, against the black of the mountain. Are those hazy letters back there? Could it be a subliminal message? Looks like it to us, but we just can't make it out.

Also, underneath the cap of the Hop in the Dark was a simple message: Bravely Done. If that's what bravery is all about, sign us up. We're bound to be heroes!

In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s law, this battle features a sample bottle received from the Deschutes Brewery.


  1. Yum, both of these beers are great. But I am a little leary of the Dogzilla these days... the last time I bought a bomber it had totally gone bad and I had to pour it out. QC fail......

    Can't wait to have more Deschutes CDA...

  2. Bad Dogzilla! You should give this new batch a try. Nice and fresh with a big wallop o' hops.

  3. Love me some Dogzilla....and have a bottle of the Deschutes in the fridge waiting for me to pop it open!