Parallel 49 Black Christmas CDA

Reviewed by on December 16, 2014 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Parallel 49 Brewing Company

  • Origin: Vancouver, BC, CA

  • Rated On: December 13, 2014

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Cascadian Dark Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Black Christmas is Parallel 49’s anti-Christmas offering, pretty much just a straight-up Cascadian Dark Ale – they proclaim to care not a whit about catering to Santa, so let’s see if they follow through on their promises.

This 341ml bottle pours a clear (I think), very dark brown colour, with prominent basal cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, rocky, and bubbly beige head, which leaves some stellar webbed jungle tree profile lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of meaty caramel malt, dank pine and leafy forest floor detritus, toasted wheat bread, grainy caramel malt, cherry menthol drops, a touch of earthy yeast, soft wet char, and further weedy, floral, and kind of perfumed hops. The taste is roasted caramel malt, muddled pine needles, spruce tips, and dead leaves, a still isolated ashy char essence, a bit of flat cola sweetness, and indistinct musty, somewhat phenolic esters. The carbonation is fairly understated in its generic frothiness and opportunistic fizziness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and full of a tattered sort of smoothness, the roast and hops not known for playing nice in that arena. It finishes off-dry, the blend of styles as apparent as ever.

While this may eschew the typical seasonal beer trappings, it does at least get it all right with the name – the blackened malt, the (Christmas) tree-borne bitterness, I’m fine with letting that all go. But, as usual, as a normal, drinkable brew – I just can’t get fully on board with the two dueling forces here, and what they do my various flavour receptors.  Gee, sometimes insubordination has its unforeseen consequences, eh?  Ho ho ho.

Brady White

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