Native Black Bitter Ale Review - Drink Local!

With all of the local Minnesota Hop talk going around lately I thought I'd step back to my first experience and experiment with locally grown hops from 2009.   I got a bunch of Cascade and Goldings hops from a guy in New Hope.  I used all 4 ounces of Cascade hops in my Bitter Black/ Cascadian Dark / IBA.  I used the Goldings in small additions to many of my beers with great, yet subtle results.  

Last Fall I brewed a nice hoppy Brown Ale using 4 oz. of locally grown cascade hops.  I guess it would be considerd a Cascadian Dark, or a Black Bitter, or a MN Black Bitter.    I figured that the hops were probably on the low end of the Alpha spectrum compared to most cascade hops grown in the US which are grown primarily in the great northwest. Is my assumption wrong...who knows...without a scientific test.  I also figured into my recipe that over hopping would be better then under hopping because we might as well see what these local hops can do right? It ended up turning into an India Brown ale, or possibly an American Brown Ale, or Black Bitter...that's another debate all together and one that I've concluded to call  Black Bitter.  Not sure how it should be classified but it was damn good.  I couldn't have been happier with the result of this bad boy! My friends were freakin over this shit!

This was my 2009 harvest ale, and here is a little review from back then....

Native Cascade Black Bitter Ale- Harvest Ale
Pours a nice dark brown to black, almost like a light stout in appearance. Initially you are hit by the aroma of roasted malts, a little bit of coffee, some caramel but not too much, and some nice fresh hops! Mainly just roastiness in the nose. You can slightly pick up the hop aroma, almost sweet in the smell. When you take a sip you get a beautiful mix of malt and hops. For the yeast, I think it is a bit subdued and it's hard to tell how that is effecting the beer, especially since I went all weird and used two different strains (American ale, and English ale yeast). Mainly when you take a sip at first you get the nice roasted barley and then on the back end you get slammed,not with bitterness, but with the taste of sweet Cascade hop nectar, fruity and sweet with citrus and grapefruit. I say slammed, but it's more like a controlled fall from malt to hops. I'll surely be seeking out some more MN Grown Cascade hops this season from Hippityhops Farms outside of Forest Lake, MN.  Long live the harvest. This year we will have a REAPING party with Native Black Bitter Ale for sure! 

Let me know if you'd like the recipe and I'll dig it up for you.

Brewing/Tasting notes from 1.17.10

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