CDA/Black IPA is an innovation sure to take the beer world by storm! Imagine an IPA brewed with the unique flavors of the Pacific Northwest, such as Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook and Cascade hops blended together for a dark ale with a unique bitterness and taste. This ground-breaking beer will challenge the traditional idea of what a high-hopped IPA can be. Get ready for something completely original!
When you think of IPAs, you probably think of a bright, golden ale, overflowing with bitterness and aroma from hops. However, the innovation at the heart of the craft beer movement has led to the development of an especially bold type of IPA: the pioneering and palate-pleasing Cascadian Dark Ale, or Black IPA.
Cascadian Dark Ales have been around since the early 2000s, but have only recently taken off in a big way. Although still a relatively new beer style, Cascadian Dark Ales have become increasingly popular. These bold and aromatic beers combine the flavor and aroma of a classic American IPA with the color of a dark and roasty Porter.
For a beer to be recognized as a classic American-style Cascadian Dark Ale it must be something more than a simple IPA that happens to be black, and must be brewed with the Northwest’s distinctively aromatic hops, including Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook and, yes, Cascade.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes a Cascadian Dark Ale and why it has earned a special place in the realm of IPAs.
At its core, Cascadian Dark Ale is a bold and extremely aromatic American IPA with a dark brown to black color. However, CDA must be brewed with certain types of hops to truly count as a Cascadian Dark Ale.
These include Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook and Cascade, all of which are quintessentially American hop varieties. Together, these hops impart distinctive aromas and flavors including citrus, pine, earth, and bittersweet chocolate. The presence of roasted malts also contributes a distinctive dark color to the finished beer.
The aroma of a Cascadian Dark Ale is complex and inviting, combining the intense aromas of hops, roasted malts, and bittersweet chocolate. The flavor of CDA is similarly complex, with a noticeable hop bitterness that is balanced by a sweet and roasted malt profile. On some versions of Cascadian Dark Ales, a notable warmth of alcohol may also be detected.
The introduction of the Cascadian Dark Ale has pushed the boundaries of what a true IPA can be. By combining the complexity of a dark lager or Porter with the intense aroma and flavor of American hops, Cascadian Dark Ales have created a unique and quite delicious beer experience.
CDA has also earned special recognition in the ever-expanding world of craft beer. As more beer aficionados and brewmasters are looking for new and innovative ways to explore hop flavors and aromas, the popularity of Cascadian Dark Ale has skyrocketed.
A glass of Cascadian Dark Ale can look quite intimidating, but don't let that scare you away from this bold and delicious beer. A true Cascadian Dark Ale will have a deep black color with a light tan head that quickly dissipates.
The aroma of a Cascadian Dark Ale is a complex and inviting mix of citrus and pine notes, roasted malts, and bittersweet chocolate. The flavor is similarly complex, with pronounced hop bitterness balanced by roasted malt sweetness. Some do detect a notable warmth of alcohol in some versions of Cascadian Dark Ale and Black IPA.
Although related, Black IPA and Cascadian Dark Ale are two distinct beer styles. Black IPAs have similar flavour profiles as Cascadian Dark Ale, but do not have to follow the same geographical guidelines. The essential difference between the two styles is that a Black IPA can be brewed with any variety of hops, whereas Cascadian Dark Ale must be brewed with the classic Northwest hops.
While Cascadian Dark Ale and Black IPAs both offer an enjoyable and unique twist on the classic American IPA, there are some key differences that set the two styles apart. Let’s take a look at the defining characteristics of each.