Baerlic is crowded when I come in, and I crane my neck to see if I can find a table. I’m hoping to meet friends here, so I’m happy to see that there’s something in the corner. But the crowd means that I can’t really ask someone on the rails, so I’m asking a fellow in line what he got. He takes a sip of his black ale and nods at me, “I like it.”
It, in this case, is the Dark Thoughts black IPA, or CDA (cascadian dark ale). 6.66% alcohol and 66.6 IBUs so…well named. This is one of those times, however, when I’m glad that I’m just having what people have, without the requirement of volume because this style of beer is generally not for me.
The nose is pleasant and older school; more pine than citrus which is welcome. But I just can’t get on board.
Despite the emphasis on the finish of hop bitterness and the honestly pleasant midrange hint of cocoa, just before it all goes away a coffee astringency appears and wrecks the whole thing, like the world’s most sardonic partygoer.
This is how this style seems to go for me; the front end is reasonable or even likeable but the finish is marred by that acrid coffee flavor. It’s so rare to find a dark IPA without this quality I’m starting to wonder if that’s a feature not a bug.
It’s a bad feature, though.
Today’s second pint goes to Trans Lifeline.