After traveling safely in my suitcase, wrapped in my finest dirty clothes, this little bottle of Oregon-born craft beer glory made it back from the Beer Blogger’s Conference (July) to my apartment in one piece. I picked this one up at Saraveza, just one of those places that if you’re in Portland, OR you have to visit. You can’t beat a place with great food, a bar and a bottle shop all in one place. Not to mention the crazy ecclectic decorations and historical beer memorabilia on the wall… but I digress.

In the land of Northwest Pacific hops, the beer style “Cascadian Dark Ale” or CDA (which has many other names – depending on who you ask) was born. A black colored, hoppy IPA with a little roastiness, it’s been one of this year’s hottest beer styles. And no matter what you call it, it always makes for an interesting brew.

It pours with quite a generous head – a black to brown brew with a generous layer of light foam. To the casual observer, it might resemble a stout, but the aroma gives it away immediately. A nice, bold hop flavor comes rushing out to your nose, followed by some roasted malt. You can get it only sometimes, when the first wave of hops have saturated your nostrils, yielding just a little something else on the back end.

The taste is not disappointing, and was definitely worth the extra effort to get this beer home. It has a wonderful roasty toasted malt flavor, accented by the bitterness of the hops. It doesn’t feel like any kind of a dark beer – it is sticky on the lips like a good IPA should be, but has a twinge of coffee or some other richness. What I like most about this beer is that it isn’t thin, but isn’t heavy either. It has the right body and feel of a well-done IPA, but has the balance of the best oatmeal stouts I’ve ever tasted. It hit right on the nose.

When visiting the Deschutes website to research the beer, I also found out something else interesting. Not only does each of their beer have a featured recipe that incorporates the beer (I’ll be checking out the Hop in the Dark Beef Stroganoff but likely substituting another CDA) but they also provide a homebrew clone recipe. It’s the first brewer that I’ve come across that is encouraging you to brew their beer yourself. Cheers to that!