CDA Week: Deschutes Hop in the Dark

Cascadian Dark Ale WeekDeschutes Brewery is soon to be releasing their own Cascadian Dark Ale soon (in May): Hop in the Dark. I previously posted about it back in March.

“We’ve brewed 22 batches of this beer at both our Bend and Portland pubs, experimenting on our customers as we perfected the recipe,” said Brewmaster Larry Sidor. “This beer has subtle coffee undertones born from a blend of oats with dark, Munich and crystal malts. Classic IPA flavors and aromas are due to courageous additions of Cascade, Citra and Centennial hops.”

Deschutes Hop in the Dark CDAThe bottles haven’t hit the shelves yet (nor sent out to bloggers yet), but Deschutes does have Hop in the Dark on tap at their pubs, and while I don’t have a full review, I’ve at least tasted it. But more on that in a minute.

I noticed something interesting on their website that I think highlights the (even now) experimental nature of this beer: the press release listed Hop in the Dark as having 6.5% alcohol by volume and 70 IBUs. The page on the site lists 6.5% and 75 IBUs. However, if you look at the “What’s on Tap” pages for the Bend and Portland pubs, you’ll see that in Bend the “pub exclusive” version has 6.7% and 93 IBUs, while in Portland it’s listed at 6.7% and 60 IBUs.

What are the official numbers? Ultimately the “official” version for most people will be what comes out of the bottle, so it’s a bit of a moot point. I just think this is a great example of the, er, fluid nature of beer and brewing: ultimately, no two glasses of beer are exactly alike.

As for the version I’ve tasted at the Bend pub: likely the one with 93 IBUs, because I found it to be pretty intensely bitter, full of resin and pine pitch and similar tarry character, much like the W’10 I reviewed earlier this week, only cranked even higher and overall (I think) a bit thicker in the mouth.

It’ll be interesting to see if the bottled version is similar.