The Future and the PastWhen the shelves are crowded with the…

The Future and the Past

When the shelves are crowded with the next big thing, it’s good to remember that popularity is cyclical. Ideas that seem daft today will be everywhere next year, and gone a year after that. Right now glitter beer is the contentious next big thing. It’s shiny! It’s fun! It’s gross! It’s going to make your poo sparkle! Who knows, next year it could be everywhere. And the year after that it could go the way of black IPA.

Black IPA, also known as Cascadian dark ale around these parts, is the marriage of the dark roasted malt of a porter or stout with the heavy American hopping of an IPA. It shouldn’t work on paper, and I’m sure in the early stages there were many weird iterations, but the style captured a certain adventurous spirit.

It shouldn’t work – and it’s still arguable whether it’s does – but somehow it goes together. Drinking a dark IPA is a bit like tasting those fancy single origin coffees. The tasting notes offer stone fruit and orange blossoms, but at first all you taste is coffee. It’s just a subtle difference in aroma and a tingle at the back of the throat. Oh! That is a little different. That is a bit like a peach.

Secession CDA from Hopworks is one a of the few of these roasty hop bombs that have survived into the hazy IPA era. It pours out blackety black with a creamy meringue head. It smells a little odd. A mixture of roasted grain and perfumy hop flower. The flavor starts out familiar enough, a little bit astringent and toasty, before moving into the light notes of citrus near the back end. It’s not particularly fruity, just a little suggestion of orange peel and pine. It’s subtle but very unique. No one could confuse it for a robust porter.