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‘TIS THE SEASON … FOR SOMETHING
November’s an odd time in the seasonal beer calendar. Oktoberfest beers are long gone. Pumpkin beers are still here, but they’ve been ubiquitous since August, so sensible people are sick of ‘em by now. And it’s too early to reliably find Christmas ales and winter warmers (not to mention the fact that it isn’t winter yet). So, what’s your best bet for this in-between time of the year?
It’s a matter of personal taste, I guess. But for me, this is the ideal time of year for Cascadian dark ales, also known as black IPAs. They’re the perfect mix of citrusy hop bite (great for summer) and roasted malt backbone (great for winter). The style is relatively new in the beer world, but there are plenty of top-notch choices – Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous, Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack, Uinta’s Dubhe, Victory’s Yakima Glory … and on and on. But there’s a brand-new one from Founders that’s well worth checking out.
Founders Brewing Co.’s Dark Penance is an imperial black IPA that’s rapidly becoming a top choice for craft beer fans around Central PA, despite being released mere weeks ago. Founders already makes a solid range of awesome IPAs – from the lightweight session All Day IPA to the massive Devil Dancer Triple IPA. At 8.9% ABV, Dark Penance slots nicely into the middle of the IPA lineup. It has the huge bitterness you’d expect, with hop flavors ranging from citrus to floral to resinous pine, but also sports a sweet and roasty malt foundation. Somehow, even with all that going on, the mouthfeel is lighter than you’d expect; almost delicate. I’m not sure what dark arts the brewers at Founders used to concoct this brew, but I love it. Track it down and try it out for yourself. But do it soon – Dark Penance disappears at the end of the year.
Do you drink on the dark side? From black IPAs and roasty porters to winter warmers and stouts – what’s your go-to winter brew?