Bad Santa Cascadian Dark Ale 7.5% ABV 65 IBUs Pelican Brewery, Cannon Beach
Christmas is right around the corner, and that might mean a few of us are starting to wonder which list we’ll end up on this year—naughty or nice. But no matter if you’re destined for toys and confections or coal, there’s a seasonal offering from Pelican Brewing Co. of Oregon now available for any boy or girl (of legal drinking age), naughty or nice—Bad Santa Cascadian Dark Ale.
Cascadian dark ale is a young beer style and an even younger term, essentially incepted and acknowledged within the last decade. The style can be thought of in multiple lights, a well-hopped beer with roasted malts, a porter crossed with an IPA, but one alternative description of the style seems to capture its essence most simply and completely—black IPA.
And who better to attempt to rope and harness a young beer style than a young brewery who has made a name for itself up and down the West Coast and beyond?
Pelican Brewing Co. was started in Pacific City, Oregon, in 1996, making this the year of its twenty-first birthday! As a brewery, Pelican is the whole package, brewing both style and experimental beers, celebrating both tradition and innovation, and in twenty-one years, Pelican has earned multiple beer awards, both in the United States and around the world, and has expanded to new locations in Cannon Beach and Tillamook as well.
And Pelican Brewing Co.’s Bad Santa might be one perfect example of a Cascadian dark ale (or black IPA).
First, Bad Santa pours with a bone to tan head on top of a ruby-black body. The nose is a balance of malt and hops with chocolate and roasted notes, and the palate doubles-down on the nose, delivering big chocolate and roasted flavors over distinct but not overly aggressive hops. Bad Santa is a full-flavored, medium-bodied beer, and if its moniker was not already appropriate, it’s a little boozy.
Beyond its base characteristics, one of Bad Santa’s strongest virtues (pause for chuckle) is its drinkability. Sixty-five IBUs is respectable but not tongue-numbing, so a reveler is allowed to enjoy the character of the beer’s hops—consisting of multiple hop species but specifically Fuggle, a traditional hop originating in England—and dark malts without losing their sense of taste altogether.
The hops in Bad Santa build evenly, rounded out by the malts, which as the beer warms become a bit sweeter and tangier.
On their website, Pelican Brewing Co. lists what it believes to be its company’s values. After truly noble commitments to produce the best and freshest products possible and to protect the environment in which the company thrives is a stated desire to play some small part in turning experiences into memories.
This holiday season, however and with whomever you celebrate, Bad Santa Cascadian Dark Ale from Pelican Brewing Co. is sure to provide a welcome accent to your festivities and perhaps put that final polish on the rosy hue of your holiday memories.