Deschutes Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale: After 22 test batches at their pubs in Bend and Portland, OR, the brewers at Deschutes settled on the final recipe. Hop in the Dark is part of the brewery’s Bond Street Series and uses Cascade, Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops, with a blend of oats, dark, Munich and crystal malts. It pours dark brown with a decent tan head. There is a firm pine hop aroma and the flavor comes hop forward at a solid 70 IBU. The 6.5 percent alcohol by volume ale has a slight roasted coffee background note and the oats give it a coating mouthfeel.
Olde Hickory Black IPA: This North Carolina brew pours a jet black color with a nice khaki head. The nose is floral hops, with little of the roasted notes you might expect based on the color. The flavor has a moderate hop bitterness that trails off at the end with just a hint of the darkened grain.
Pyramid Discord Dark IPA: This ale is a black color with red around the edges and pours with a thick tan head that sticks. The aroma and flavor of this 6.5 percent alcohol by volume brew is punctuated by the 69 IBU produced by the Nugget, Centennial, Mount Hood, Amarillo and Simcoe hops. The dark malt adds a roasted character to the finish and helps balance out the overall flavor profile.
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale: First brewed in 2007 to celebrate Stone Brewing’s 11th anniversary, this 8.7 percent alcohol by volume beer is really an imperial dark pale ale. The beer pours black with a mocha-colored foam. The aroma offers a ton of hops: Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo hops are packed into this one, generating 90 IBU. The hops obviously dominate this brew, but the malt does show itself with a touch of sweetness and a roasted quality to the finish.
21st Amendment Back in Black: The beer pours a dark black color with a hefty tan head. The 6.8 percent alcohol by volume beer has an immediate pine resin nose. The flavor starts off with a hop forward 65 IBU blitz from the Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe hops. The roasted malts mellow the finish of the beer a bit, making it interesting and enjoyable.
W’10 Pitch Black IPA: Part of the “W” Brewmasters’ Release Series from Widmer Brothers, it pours a brown black color with a thick mocha-colored head. The aroma is initially floral, but the pine character takes over. The beer is 6.5 percent alcohol by volume and carries 62 IBU to your palate. The beer has plenty of fresh hop flavor from Alchemy and Cascades hops. The roasted malt smoothes things out a bit and there is actually a sweet touch to the late finish of this beer once the hops have worked their magic.