I’m Confused

22 Feb

Why am I confused, you ask?  Well, the good folks at Pyramid have managed to brew, bottle, and market a beer that confuses me.  While perusing one of the many beer blogs that exist in Portland several weeks ago, I came across a post about the the new labels at Pyramid and how they were trying to “up their game”.  I found myself wondering how the beers tasted, as I have yet to have a Pyramid brew since moving to Portland.  My knowledge of Pyramid is limited at best, so I cruised the website trying to see what was going on at the brewery.  I managed to get some useful information, but lost track of picking up a bottle…until this afternoon.

I was walking down the beer aisle at Freddy’s today, when I saw the Discord Dark IPA on sale for $2.47 for a 22 oz bottle.  What a deal, right?  I figured it was worth the really minimal investment to check out the beer.  I have had several really, really good Black IPAs/CDAs recently (Turmoil being one that was downright un-fucking-believable), so I figured I would keep the streak going.

After a nice dinner with the family, I decided to crack the bottle for a little downtime before we put the kid to bed and scare ourselves silly watching Contagion.  My wife and I love end-of-the world movies about zombies, diseases, and diseases-that-turn-people-into-zombie/vampires.  What can I say?  We got some issues.  ANYWAY, back to the beer.  I have to admit, the labels do look better now than the previous versions I saw in stores.  It might even be safe to say that those labels kind of turned me off to the beer.  They were waaaaayyyyy to busy and made me think I was buying a bottle of some kind of energy drink.  The new labels are clean and efficient and give off a sense of calm and quiet confidence in the beer itself.  Good change, in my humble opinion.  As for the beer…

It poured black, and I mean black.  Sometimes this style will have a brownish color to it when held to the light.  Not so with this one.  That impressed me because…well I don’t know why it impressed me, but it did.  The smell was nice and piney/floral/citrusy.  Just what I would expect from a beer dry-hopped with 4 different varieties (Falconer’s, Flight, Zythos, and Cascade).  So far so good.  The taste?  This is where things start to get a little confusing.  The same flavors I got in the smell came through with the first taste, but the roasted malt flavors I was expecting were just not there.  It had a great body, with the malt backbone to counter the agressive hop/bitterness in the beer…but those roasted notes were just straight up absent!  So what’s the deal?  Is this a Black IPA/CDA or not?  In all honesty, it tasted like a straight-up NW IPA.  A good one, too!  Maybe I was just missing it.  Maybe it was too subtle for my ridiculously insensitive palette.  Pyramid does not call it either a CDA or a Black IPA anywhere.  It’s a Dark IPA.  Is this similar to the Bridgeport Dark Rain?  I had one of those last week and found it to be a bit off the mark.  Of course they call that a Dark Pale Ale, but clearly these are two breweries playing with the Black IPA/CDA style.

Regardless, it’s good.  Good enough that would recommend everyone try it.  Maybe one of our 4 readers can pick one up and let me know what they think.  I would love to hear from others what they thought of this beer.


3 Responses to “I’m Confused”

  1. Angelo February 22, 2012 at 12:08 PM #

    Pyramid nailed the style perfectly in my opinion. In fact, the lack of roast malt character should be absent according to The Brewers Association style guildlines for an America-Style India Black Ale
    “The style is further characterized by a moderate degree of caramel malt character and medium to strong dark roasted malt flavor and aroma.High astringency and high degree of burnt roast malt character should be absent.” (http://www.brewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/2207/BA_Beer_Style_2010.pdf)

    • Brian February 22, 2012 at 11:25 PM #

      Your point about the Style Guideline is well taken. I think my point (which I don’t think I made well at all) is that I got no dark roasted malt flavor off of the beer. The guide says that there should be medium to strong roasted malt flavor. If I tasted this blind, I would have thought it a good IPA with a nice medium body and nothing more. Your comment makes me think I need to go back and taste this again. Thanks for the response!


  1. Happy Fathers Day « taphandle - June 17, 2012

    […] have been making hay about Pyramid’s beers lately (see here and here), with good reason.  They have won me back over with their solid lineup and incredibly low prices. […]

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