Friday, January 6, 2012

508. Two Beers Heart of Darkness CDA

More perambulations in the Seattle region. Two Beers Brewery is located in a light industrial wearhouse district in south Seattle—just south of the West Seattle freeway. We’ve been enjoying as many of their fine canned products as possible during our time here, so we figured a trip to the brewery was in order. Plus, who doesn’t love poking around? Thus, while this is not our first beer from Two Beers, it is the first one we’ve bothered to inform all you lovely readers about. I hope you don’t take it personally—it’s not you, it’s us. Oh, and let’s be honest—straight up awesome name for today’s beer. Even Joseph Conrad would approve.

Since we got there early, we had to sit in the car for five minutes or so before they opened the tasting room for the day—we didn’t want to start out by pushing our luck barging in, and it was raining (Seattle and rain? No way!). We were the first ones in, and after surveying the beer offerings, Elli went with the Echo IPA while I opted for the Heart of Darkness CDA—Cascadian Dark Ale for all of you that don’t know—it’s just a black IPA with a fancier name. Heart of Darkness was a luscious deep chocolate with a tan head; the nose was a mix of spicy resin and evergreen hops coupled with sweet caramel and a touch of roast/oatmeal. Flavors open with malt—light roast and sweetness with accompanying lighter chocolate and coffee hints. The hop flavor comes in after the initial malt rush, with spicy and resin hop flavors and reciprocal bitterness peeking through the darker malts. The finish features a touch of roast with a creamy bitter finish, and lingering flavors of roast and resin on the back of the tongue. There is a little warmth and graininess in the mouthfeel—the spicy hops contribute to the impression of warmth, but it is also 8.4% ABV, so it ain’t all just the hops. The creamy, rounded flavor leads me to suspect oatmeal or rolled barley in the grist, but the underlying beer strikes me closer to a sweet stout than a dry stout—the roast is subdued, allowing the sweet caramel flavors to come to the forefront. Nonetheless, an excellent beer—this is by far the best and most approachable CDA I’ve tried—the fresh flavors and bright, spicy hops make the beer pop, and it is certainly delicious.

In our discussions with the gentleman running the tasting room, we found out that the Echo IPA is a Northwest IPA, while the Evolutionary IPA is closer to a San Diego-style IPA. We tried the Evolutionary in conjunction with the Echo, and both concluded the Echo is far better, which kinda struck us as odd, since Evolutionary is Two Beers’ flagship IPA. We also got to wander around in the back and check out the brew kettle and the conicals, and ask a couple of questions. All in all, an afternoon well spent—we’d happily visit again anytime the opportunity presented itself.

From the Two Beers website: “Whether it’s hiking a moonlit trail or sleeping under the stars, our senses are heightened in the dark. We notice the little things and discover the word anew. This complex Cascadian Dark Ale is our tribute to those moonlit experiences. This hoppy yet smooth ale is an adventure all its own.”

ABV: 8.4%
IBU: 67


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