I’m still on the fence with the CDA craze.  On one hand, I’m one of those guys that loves messing with a good thing as long as the new thing is as good if not better than the original.  I love IPA’s, so any chance to mess around with them to bring out something cool in the flavor profile is fine with me.  On the other hand, I’ve been around the block a few times and had my fair share of weak CDA’s that are really just bland IPA’s with some masked roasted notes.  Boring.  I originally warmed to the name “Black IPA” because I thought it perfectly described the style.  The one’s I had tried were just that – Black IPA’s -IPA in body and flavor, just black in color.  Now that I’ve had some better beers from the style I’ve come around on the Cascadian Dark Ale nomenclature.  I don’t consider them IPA’s and the best of the style shouldn’t resemble an IPA at all.  They deserve to be their own style.  On that note, let’s review a CDA with “Black India Pale Ale” on the label.  Wait, what was my point on that CDA thing?


Peak Organic Hop Noir

NOTES: Draught

STYLE: Cascadian Dark Ale

ABV: 8.2% ABV

APPEARANCE: Weird, it’s black.  Who knew?

HEAD: Thick, luscious tan head atop the blackness.  Woops, there it goes, head did not last long.

LACING: Not much, just some faint lacing around the top of the glass that dissipates quickly.

NOSE: Ah, now we’re talking.  Roasted malts come straight at you with a pleasant mix of floral hops and very faint hint of citrus.  This is what a CDA should smell like.  Not just an IPA – The nose is a cross between an IPA, a Porter, a Brown Ale, and maybe a dry Irish Stout.  In case you’re curious, that’s a good thing

TASTE: First thing that hit me was a rush of piny hops but that was immediately quenched by a sweet, malty backbone.  Bitterness comes through more as roasted coffee than any puckering hops.  It’s hoppy for sure, but hoppy in the way of an Imperial Stout and not an Imperial IPA.  Me likes.

MOUTHFEEL: Not a ton of carbonation going on so the mouthfeel remains light throughout.  It’s actually deceptively light

DRINKABILITY: I’ll be honest, I had no idea this was an 8.2% beer until I looked up the percentage for the rating.  The thought of alcohol never crossed my mind as I was enjoying this brew.  Perfectly balanced between bitter notes, sweet notes, even sour notes in the finish (Is that the citrus?  No idea).  Drinkability is fantastic

RATING: 3.5 Hops.

Here’s how I would describe the Peak Organic Hop Noir.  If you took a Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, poured some Green Flash West Coast IPA in the glass, then topped it with Berkshire’s Coffeehouse Porter, you might have the perfect pre-mixed Cascadian Dark Ale.  That’s what it tasted like to me anyway.

6 thoughts on “PEAK ORGANIC HOP NOIR

  1. I believe they are contract brewed out of Shipyard. Seems like a similar case as Clown Shoes though – just using the fantastic infrastructure of Shipyard to have them brew something that is wholly created and owned by Peak. I think this is a case of good contract brewing, not some marketing company that contracts out to someone like Saranac to handle every aspect of the beer process from recipe to brewing to shipment.

  2. Shipyard, another fine beverage does brew peak.. still good stuff. I am from Maine and will be traveling back to the source this summer to taste the freshness. However, gritty Mcduff’s is the total experience. They made top beer in Draft magazine last month for the brown ale. Right in the heart of Portland and you drink in the bar right on top of the brew kettles. It’ like hatching a little tasty beer whenever you are there. Plus the chilly made with their beer is kick-in. Go forth and sample!

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