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Friday, August 06, 2010

CDA in the WaPo; Braggot in the Side Bar

Abram Goldman-Armstrong may be winning the fight. Check out this article in Tuesday's Washington Post:
"Black IPA" would be a contradiction in terms: How can you be both black and pale? "India black ale" would be more accurate; however, at least one brewery has had that term struck down by federal labeling authorities for not being an accepted style. But "Cascadian dark ale," or CDA, is gaining currency, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where the style has proved popular.
I have no idea whether Abe's version of history is true or not, but he's winning the battle to have it canonized as the authentic one:
As with most emerging styles, there is a debate over who got there first. "The question is a sticky one," allows Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a beer writer from Portland who organized a Cascadian dark ale symposium in January to help draw up parameters for the style. Goldman-Armstrong asserts that the "first true CDA" he ever sampled was Skull Splitter from Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore., a special release for the 2003 Oregon Brewers Festival. He credits a home-brewing friend, Bill Wood of Seattle, with coining the term Cascadian dark ale.
For what it's worth, I think the claim is tenuous. Greg Kitsock, author of the article, suggests one earlier version, but there are other, far, far earlier examples, too. But who cares? Abe's on the road to establishing CDA, and I say more power to him. Claim one for Cascadia.

In the other bit of random news, I would like to highlight this, at the Lompoc's Sidebar:
Bob's Memorial Braggot
Brewed in the summer of '08 and blended and bottled in March '09, this beer is 2.25 parts mead to 1 part brown ale. The late Bob Farrell, one of the true gentlemen of the Oregon craft-beer world, was a great fan of braggot, and helped blend this before his untimely death from cancer. We raise our glass to Bob when we drink this! 7% ABV
Looks very cool, and worth a stop if you've got the time.


  1. had a bottle of that Braggot in the early spring. It's very very good. I'd be interested in it on tap for sure.

  2. On the CDA subject: I am not particularly interested in who made it first. Raising that question will have brewers and brewing historians crawling out of the wood work to stake a claim. I have also heard it should be called CDA because the hops are grown here, but by that tolken, so is almost every beer in the country. My point would be that it is an 'emerging style' here in the NW. I know brewers are making it all over the country and beyond, but by 'emerging', I mean that there is a critial mass; almost every brewery in Portland, if not Oregon, has a version. I think that gives it creedance and momentum. There are enough samples and a sense of what the style is across the samples to make it meaningful. If it has one name or another doesn't matter to me either, but I agree on the black pale beer contradiction. I also think this is so far removed from the colonial English namesake that I think it is time to drop the India horse...unless they want to start loading ships up with it in Portland and start shipping it over there. OHH! then we could make an export version of CDA!

  3. Up next, Cascadian Pale Ale or the beer formerly known as NW IPA. Seriously though Vasili, I agree with you about the India thing. We are far enough removed from the original India ales that we should probably look towards more modern and apt descriptors.

    I enjoyed seeing that article in the Washington Post, certainly gives CDAs a little national credibility.