Russell Brewing – John Mitchell Signature Cascadian Dark Ale


Russell Brewing – John Mitchell Signature Cascadian Dark Ale Review

Recently, there was big news in the BC craft beer community around the 40th Anniversary of the origin of craft beer in Canada. For the occasion, a special collaboration tribute beer was organized at Surrey’s Russell Brewing, and a special launch day was held on July 6th–four decades to the day since Canada’s first craft beer was officially launched by Horseshoe Bay Brewing pioneer John Mitchell and friends at his Troller Pub.

The BeerSeekers were fortunate enough to experience the beverage four different ways: from the can, on tap at the brewery, in a growler, and best of all, in a cask at the official launch of the beer.

This beer isn’t just for fun; it’s also a fundraiser for the John Mitchell Legacy Endowed Scholarship, open to students in the Brewing & Brewery Operations Diploma program at BC’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

The full story can be found at a new website just started up: There, you’ll find a page dedicated to describing this beer…but in this review we’ll submit our own thoughts on this historic beverage.

Signature CDA pours a very dark brown in your glass, with a nice head and serious lace. The above pic doesn’t do it justice. FYI, the cask was unsurprisingly much creamier as well.

On the nose, this beer is a winner. The aroma is incredible. Malty chocolate, caramel and coffee, but complemented by a distinct hop note that pulls this all together as a dark IPA.

On the palate, this is a fatter CDA than average. There’s plenty of body to satisfy the average stout and porter lover.

Folks from KPU and Russell Brewing

When the recipe for this beer was first proposed, one of the BeerSeekers had the immediate reaction, “Don’t make it too hoppy!” That’s because, although John Mitchell appreciated Pacific Northwest hops, he probably wouldn’t want this to be a hop bomb. Thankfully the recipe designer (Russell Brewing team member and KPU alum Mark McBride) agreed and the result is definitely satisfying.

It’s chocolatey with mocha coffee notes, yet it’s still a CDA–meaning it’s got some hop characteristic and is not a malt-only beer. As a matter of fact, we noticed a nice, balanced resiny hop oil smack on the palate in the finish.

We’ll sum up by saying that it’s not just us; beer folk like Ken Beattie of the BC Craft Brewers Guild will vouch that this beer is a worthy, fitting and delicious tribute to Canada’s craft beer pioneer, John Mitchell.


Where To Find The Beer

John Mitchell Ale Celebrates 40 Years of Craft Beer

  • (4)
  • (4.5)
  • (4.5)
  • (4.4)
  • (4.6)
    Overall Enjoyment

About This Beverage

  • Colour: Deep Brown
  • Head Size & Retention: Above average head/retention
  • Carbonation: Well Carbonated
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Balance: More Malty
  • Drinkability: Definitely Drinkable
  • Enjoyment: I would definitely seek this beer out again
  • Malt Characteristics: Caramel, Rich/Sweet, Coffee or Chocolate, Toasty/Roasty
  • Hop Characteristics: Piney or Woody
  • Palate: Medium Bodied, Resiny in finish


We’ll sum up by saying many beer folk would vouch that this beer is a worthy, fitting and delicious tribute to Canada’s craft beer pioneer, John Mitchell.

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