Review – Fall Seasonal Black DIPA from Institution Ales

My love / hate relationship with Black IPA’s continues with the 2021 Fall Seasonal from Institution Ales.

It pours a dark brown, near black with a light tan head. It has a spiced coffee latte aroma. Not PSL but nice. The balance is tilted more to the malt side. Quite bready and filling. The bitterness is more of a counterpoint. I like the re-emerging trend back to this style but I just wish the hops would be more assertive.

Back in Black

I need recent days, two fan favorite beers returned to distribution. First….

Stone Brewing stuck SS-R in its 12 Days of IPA’s box and then this year decidedly to re-release it all on its own. That was followed by…

…the label re-designed Wookey Jack from the SoCal Firestone.

How many more Black IPA’s do you think will cone back this year?

Do Not Forget

Certain IPA sub-styles have not lasted. Brut IPA, I really liked. Not to be found anymore. White IPA lasted less time. Session IPA had a moment but that momentum faded. But the king of busted IPA dreams was the Cascadian or Black IPA. Rare was the one that balanced dark malt with bitterness just right.

And maybe, Common Space has unlocked it with their new Citra hop version.

Black Hearted

Last year brought Double Two Hearted, which was really good and now 2020 brings a throwback to the Cascadian Dark Ale times with a Two Hearts Valentine’s Day brand extension from Bell’s with Broken Hearted. How the honey and extreme hops work with darker malts is to be seen.

2018 Holiday Beer # 14 – Shortest Day Winter Ale

The mascot of the Winter Solstice adorns the label of Shortest Day Winter Ale from Full Sail. Read on for more info on this CDA: “Brewed to celebrate the winter solstice, Shortest Day is a Cascadian Dark Ale brewed with 2-Row Pale, Crystal, and de-husked Chocolate malt. It pours a deep dark black with a lacy tan head. With aromas of dark roasty malt and hints of tropical and citrus fruit, Shortest Day offers bold flavor with excellent balance. De-husked chocolate malt imparts dark chocolate flavor while crystal adds depth and complexity. Generous additions of Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops lend flavors of fruit and sweet floral notes.”

Review – Next Adventure Black IPA from Fort George


This stranger than usual collaboration between Fort George and Next Adventure is a Black IPA.  Why strange? I don’t know of any other beers done in concert with a new and used outdoor equipment store.  Do you?

It pours a dark black and if you like your black IPA’s to be 50/50 between roast and hops.  (Like I do).  Then this will not be that one.  Not to say it isn’t a good beer.  It is.  But from the aroma to the flavor and the aftertaste, this beer is more roasty.  Loads of coffee ground bitterness in the aroma.  Same with the initial flavor notes.  There is also a floral/spruce/pine note of bitterness floating around as well which does tie the beer up into a nice bow.  The coffee taste wins me over in the end.


I still won’t buy any camping gear though.


Review – Hoppy Feet from Clown Shoes


Clown Shoes got off on the wrong foot (pun intended) with me.  Some of their names seemed chosen for shock value and attention.  Plus ever since Stephen King’s “It”, clowns and I don’t mix.  Even when my dad started donning clown make-up to entertain at his church, I was still spooked.  But now, since some of their beers are wending their way to Los Angeles, I had to put the maxim of “It’s the beer” first and forget the backstory.  So on to Hoppy Feet….


For me, a good black IPA has an equal balance between roast and hops. Not many get that. But happily Hoppy Feet does. Good citrus bitter notes intermingle with the the medium (not milk-not dark) chocolate notes. And it packs a punch of bubbles and hops that melts into a caramel taste at the very end.  But the balance remains from the first sip to the last.

Oh and in my new tradition, here is what I am doing outside of craft beer.  Reading The Capital of the World about the race to be the city to host the United Nations.  South Dakota had a moment where it might have been the place instead of New York.  Crazy.  And I am still raving about Much Ado About Nothing.  It may not be playing anymore since it is the silly blockbuster season and the White House has to be saved by Channing Tatum but when it comes out on video/streaming, watch it.  Funny stuff and a classic story.

Lord of Darkness


One of my favorite series with nary a clinker in the bunch is the Brewer’s Share series from Full Sail Brewing.

“Brewed by Brewer Gavin Lord, celebrates that in darkness you can find light. Gavin’s beer is a Cascadian Dark Ale.”

As good as the beer is the best part is the charity aspect to it, “With each Brewer’s Share series beer, Full Sail picks a local charity to receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the beer. Gavin has chosen to support the Groundwork Portland so every keg of Gavin’s beer benefits this organization. Groundwork Portland is the primary non-profit in the Portland metro area focused on brownfields redevelopment and conversion of such land into greenspace, parks, community gardens, and multi-purpose sites.”