Beer of the Week: Oakshire O’Dark:30

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Oakshire is a relative newcomer to the Northwest Beer scene, opening in 2006 in Eugene, Oregon. They have been around the Seattle market the last few years, available both on tap and in bottles at better bottle shops and supermarkets. They produce a relatively small, but solid, lineup of beers, with O’Dark:30, a CDA or black IPA, being their spring seasonal.  The beers are reasonably priced, coming in at around $6 for a 22 oz. bottle.

From the Oakshire Website:

Dawn has not arrived, but we are awake, brewing this beguiling combination of dark malt and NW hops. Dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial Hops, this beer has a powerful hop aroma and flavor tempered with a sturdy malt backbone.

Style: Cascadian Dark Ale
OG: 15.0 Plato
IBU: 70
ABV: 6.3%

bottle_template_CDAThe beer pours jet black with a creamy tan head, it really poured like a Guinness, but that is about the only similarity O’Dark has with the beer from James Gate. Light notes of roasted malt and chocolate appear on the nose with hints of citrus and fruit peel that permeates the nose but doesn’t overpower it. With the first sip, I was surprised by the amount of roast that appears up front coupled with lighter notes of chocolate that fade quickly before moving into the hop profile – slightly fruity with notes of citrus peel and very light bitterness, surprising for a beer with a high IBU and roasted malt profile. The hops linger and fade after close to a minute and the beer leaves you with a very pleasant chocolate and orange peel finish. Incredibly well balanced and layered, this beer has deep complex flavors and a big hop profile without being palate killing or overly bitter.

Oakshire O’Dark:30 clocks in with a solid 4 half-past-the-hours out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Oakshire Big Black Jack

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Almost everyone is doing a pumpkin beer these days and that is not a bad thing since I love them. My issue is that most of them are a liquid pumpkin pie – lots of spices with a small amount of pumpkin flavor. Because there tends to be so much of that on the market, I tend to gravitate towards the styles of pumpkin beers that are different. Big Black Jack is an Imperial chocolate pumpkin porter. Chocolate? Pumpkin? Porter? They had me at hello. The beer is available seasonally in 22 oz. bottles and on tap. This review is for the bottle which ran about $7.50.

The description from the Oakshire website:

This malt-forward ale is a medium-bodied beer with flavors & spices that evoke fall. Pair Big Black Jack’s rich character with the seasonally favorite foods keeping you warm as the temperature drops: spicy Indian and Mexican dishes, molé, smoked goose, buttery aged cheddar, Irish cheeses, Gouda cheese, chocolate and peanut butter cookies, toasted coconut, pumpkin tarts and chocolate soufflés.

Part of our Single-Batch Beer Series, Big Black Jack became a fall favorite when we first released it in 2011. The Imperial Porter also won the 2012 North American Brewing Awards Gold Medal for Hybrid Beers. It is a warming autumn delight at 7.5% ABV.

The beer pours jet black with a creamy tan head. The beer has heavy overtones of pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds on the nose with notes of chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon. The initial taste yields a slightly bitter chocolate hit with a quick transition into pumpkin seeds and roasted pumpkin. The pumpkin lingers for a bit before transitioning in into a spice finish with notes of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon with a hide-and-seek pumpkin flavor. When the beer warms the pumpkin flavor becomes much more pronounced with subtle notes of oak and spice. A really complex and interesting pumpkin beer, which does a great job balancing the roasted flavors with the pumpkin ones. If you are in the mood for something with more depth than the run of the mill pumpkin beers, pick up a bottle of Oakshire Big Black Jack.

Oakshire Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter doubles down its bet with 4 split aces out of 5.