The second retail release from Ottawa’s Big Rig Brewery is Release the Hounds Black IPA. Also referred to as a Cascadian dark ale, the beer is black and completely opaque. A large and creamy tan head leaves web-like lacing as it settles into a long-lasting and rocky cap. This hybrid ale has a rich and roasty smell, with deep coffee and dark chocolate aromas joined by bright notes of cherry juice and lemon peel, along with a pleasant air of dewy grass.
The roasted character megers with a thick sweetness in the taste of Release the Hounds Black IPA, which is balanced by dry and bitter chocolate and coffee flavours. Punchy notes of citrus and pine bring along a sturdy bitterness (I’d guess 60-70 IBU) and there’s a hint of salt in the finish. The aftertaste of this full-bodied ale has roasted grain and dark toffee flavours that tend to linger.
Release the Hounds Black IPA comes in a matte gunmetal coloured can, with an elaborate etching of a wolf’s head in black behind the outline of a golden sheep. Big Rig Brewery has also rebranded their logo to look like one you’d find on a motorcycle. There are descriptions of the beer and brewery on the side of the can, along with a basic ingredient list and a date of production that’s stamped on the bottom.
I’ve had most of, if not all of Big Rig Brewery’s releases to date and Release the Hounds Black IPA has consistently been my favourite of their offerings since it was introduced. It’s an excellent example of the style and a great choice to put in the LCBO, which is currently underserved for dark and hoppy ales.
I really enjoy this style of beer with creamy cheeses and sauces. It’s also great with roast beef or a burger and I’ve even tried it with spumoni ice cream. I addition to Big Rig’s three Ottawa locations, you can find Release the Hounds Black IPA listed at over 100 LCBO locations and at select licensees.
Type: Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
Region: Ontario, Ottawa
Brewery: Big Rig Brewery
Format Purchased: 473 mL
Alcohol Content: 6.2%