With a winter storm approaching the Ottawa Valley, spring seems more than a few days away … but given that I over-indulged in my purchase of “winter beer” at my last trip to BroueHaHa, I could use a few more weeks of winter to get through my “drinking list.”
I’m also still working through the list of beers from À l’abri de la Tempête and next up is their lowest in alcohol. I do love the label on this beer but the name continues to elude me at this time: Palabre du Cloporte being a rather derogatory expression for a plodding, defamatory, ceaseless and fruitless conversation. What it has to do with black birds or crows on a wire, I’m not quite sure. Something portending death like a “murder of crows”? Your guess may be better than mine, so I’m throwing this out to my blog followers, what do you think it means?
The beer, thankfully, is much less of an enigma. It’s also the first of la Tempête’s that has actually styled and named the brew within: “Cascadian dark ale.” If you’ve been following my tastings and my own learning, you’ll know that, in this case, “Cascadian” being a west coast hop makes this synonymous with “American” and/or “west coast.” As such, it drinks like you’d expect: a black American ale or IPA.
While we now know what’s in it, the method itself becomes evident with the yeasty aroma out of the bottle and what happens to this dark, chocolaty almost coffee-hued beer as it settles. The smudges you see are actually the proteins settling out … and they elongated, or smudged, because they shifted a bit as put the glass down for the second picture. Clearly another sur lies example.
A taste of this immediately reminds me of Dunham’s own Black IPA which remains one of my favourite beers I’ve reviewed this winter. Heady company for a beer 1% lighter by volume.
The citrus of the hops comes off the top immediately and without a taste, you know this is an IPA. There is also some chocolate and coffee that carry through the mid-taste. The first taste, is however a bit thin and the carbonation, which is ample, predominates. The best part of this beer is the final tastes on the palette where a dazzling complexity emerges. There is more chocolate, a bunch of earthiness that is almost woody, and then the hops kick in with a hard boot … and you know that despite the rich dark malts that define so much of this beer, this is a very refreshing winter beer indeed and all the more remarkable that despite the relatively low alcohol, this has very generous and ample flavours. Well worth a pint … or two. A perfect pairing with a nicely-aged cheddar or a dark bread with, say, a good Polish smalec.
Stats: Black IPA. 4.7% ABV. L’Étang du Nord, Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec.
Colour: Turbid, dark brown – sur lies.
Mouth Feel: Medium-high carbonation; mousy brown/grey head. Very refreshing with an astringent finish the cleanses.
Purchased: Quebec (e.g. BroueHaHa)