Vancouver Island Brewery and Rossland Beer Company- Black IPA


Vancouver Island Brewery and Rossland Beer Company- Black IPA Review

It’s okay to have a soft spot for the Black IPA, also known as the Cascadian Dark. Like the accident child no one planned for, Black IPA is the IPA that is always last to be invited to the party it seems. While almost every other iteration of the IPA is joyfully embraced, the Black IPA has always been looked at with a bit of indifference, if not suspension, by beer snobs.

Can an IPA be as dark as a stout or schwarzbier? While some beer geeks tend to say no, the more open-minded might realize that the Cascadian is more than the sum of its parts, not just a hoppy porter or an IPA with some roasted malts thrown at it. Actually, Black IPA’s are notoriously difficult to get right. At their best, Cascadians shouldn’t taste like an IPA or a hoppy stout but like a Cascadian, a beer style that might initially baffle your taste buds but will be something entirely unique.

One of the few that is available at this time and a great example of the style is the recent VIB and Rossland Beer collaboration. It pours black with very dark brown edges and a good-sized tan head that lingers. The aroma is of pine, chocolate, and roasted marshmallows. Appropriate to the style, it isn’t too full-bodied and has good carbonation. Initially, there is bitterness from the dark roasted malts. This is followed by flavours of pine needle, coffee, evergreen forest, and hints of roasted nut, caramelized sugar, and rye spiciness. This beer is not sweet but there are definitely some darkly roasted and toasted malts to balance the dank hops. It finishes very well with a long roast and good pine notes.

  • (4.25)
  • (4)
  • (4)
  • (4.5)
  • (4.25)
    Overall Enjoyment

About This Beverage

  • Colour: Black
  • Head Size & Retention: Above average head/retention
  • Carbonation: Well Carbonated
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Balance: More Hoppy
  • Drinkability: Definitely Drinkable
  • Enjoyment: I would definitely seek this beer out again
  • Malt Characteristics: Coffee or Chocolate, Nutty, Toasty/Roasty
  • Hop Characteristics: Fruity, Piney or Woody
  • Palate: Crisp/Dry/Clean


A great example of the often forgotten and unfairly maligned Black IPA, better known as the Cascadian Dark.

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