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.
Wuchak Black from Kichesippi Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours dark brown with crimson tinges visible when held towards the light and a frothy, tan-coloured head that leaves spotty lacing and settles a thin collar. This Cascadian Dark Ale (aka Black IPA) has a rich roasted malt character on the nose. Coffee, cigar, wood and chocolate tones are accented my piny hops and red berry juice.
The taste of Wuchak Black goes hand-in-hand with its smell. Deep, dark chocolate and coffee flavours are anchored by an assertive bitterness, with complimentary notes of lemon rind, pepper and grainy biscuit. The mouthfeel is fairly thick, grainy and oily, the carbonation is on the low side and a persistent collar creates a smooth creaminess that helps ease the ale down. Coffee, pepper and a lingering, lemony bitterness permeate the aftertaste.
Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale from the Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery in Barrie, Ontario pours a cola-like dark ruby colour with a nice, creamy head not unlike a root beer float that leaves some distinctly layered lacing. This American black ale, often referred to as a “Black IPA” has a crisp, spicy aroma with a generous helping of a grapefruit-like citrus smell backed up by notes of toasted grains, malts and molasses.
The taste of Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale is malty and slightly sweet with syrup, coffee and toasted cocoa tones, as well as a subtle cherry or plum-like fruit flavour. The beer is noticeably carbonated but still a bit watery on the tongue, though there is a nice oily quality as well. The finish carries a nicely-balanced, solid bitterness and the aftertaste is slightly sweet and spicy with a soft banana note and a lingering pine-like flavour.