Friday, January 21, 2011

Cascadian Dark Ales — Tied House vs. Full Sail

Tied House Cafe & Brewery
Menage a Singe
(Black IPA — Dry Hopped)
ABV 8%

Deep, dark, clear brown.
Piny hops in the front, roasted coffee malts in the back.
Medium body with berry fruitiness.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Long, moderate smoky bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

Full Sail
Bump in the Night
(Cascadian Dark Ale)
ABV 6.5%

Deep, dark, clear brown (almost exact same as Menage).
Aroma: Intense cat pee, tropical fruit.
Flavor: Medium body, dark fruits and citrus.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Sweet roasted malts followed by intense, long-lasting bitter greens bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Mediocre -

Blow by Blow
The debate on what to call this style of hoppy dark ale still rages. Some call it Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA), some call it Black IPA and the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) has even weighed in, calling the style American Black Ale. Whatever you call it, it's a fun style and we're likely to pick up any new attempt we can find. Last year we staged our first CDA battle which was won by the delicious Deschutes Hop in the Dark. This battle features the Menage a Singe which we picked up in the Bay Area over the holidays and the Bump in the Night which is readily available in better Northwest grocery stores.

Both beers had almost the exact same deep, dark brown color but that was the only characteristic they shared. The Menage was an excellent beer with a solid dose of piny hops to complement the roasted coffee malts. The Bump in the Night was a whole different beast. The aroma was dominated by an intense "cat pee" smell (I'm sure there's a more technical term, but we don't know it), with a bit of tropical fruit thrown in the mix. Strange? Yes. Fortunately, the "cat pee" did not carry over into the flavor or finish, but the finish did have that really intense bitter-greens bitterness that is probably our least favorite hop characteristic in beer.

So, it was an easy victory for the Menage a Singe as the Bump just wasn't our favorite interpretation of the style. Unfortunately, you won't be able to find any of the Menage in the Northwest. However, if you find yourself in the SF Bay Area, do yourself a favor and stop by a Bevmo to pick up a bottle, or better yet, make a trip to The Tied House Cafe & Brewery in Mountain View to get some on tap if they have it.

Winner by unanimous decision: Menage a Singe

No comments:

Post a Comment