Local Roots Restaurant Lets The Beer Road Make Another Draft Pick – This One Is Soulfully Good.

If you’re a true hophead, and I mean a purist, you already know what it means, or at least what it tastes like.  Dank.  It’s a popular term used to describe a particular hop aroma and flavor in certain beers, although the exact definition of what truly causes a beer to smell or taste this way differs slightly from one person to another.  There are even one or two opinions out there that challenge the using the word as a beer descriptor at all, considering its use in describing the aroma of another popular flowering plant from the same family as the hop.  But it’s just too accurate of an adjective of hoppy ales to put down.  The purists – not the stoners – know it.  Still, what does it mean exactly?

There are a few clues in the terms that often precede or follow “dank” –  piney, earthy, resinous.  But while many hoppy beers have some level of pine like flavor, the latter two words seem to be more common.  “Earthy” usually means some sort of herbal like or grassy flavor, and resinous, although a little similar perhaps to pine, well, is its own term of pure hop goodness.  All of these give a little insight into what a dank tasting, hoppy beer is like.  But to truly understand the meaning, well, you have to feel it.

That’s right – feel it.  Have you ever heard someone actually use the word?  I think I truly understood what dank meant when I first heard it used to describe such a beer, but it wasn’t in the word itself that I knew, it was in how it sounded.  After tasting a particularly good hoppy – and dank – beer, it rolled out of the mouth of a friend of mine as if he had just heard two full sets of blissfully gratifying and sweat infused blues music.  More times than not, it spoken with an inflection of deep down, raw satisfaction.  Imagine leaving a James Brown show, when he was at his prime no less.  He wouldn’t have hit you with the “funk”, said as if you were reading classical literature.  He would’ve hit you with the f-u-n-k.  That’s how a dank beer is.  Forget the adjectives – I say dank is an emotion.

But don’t take it from me.  Few beers hit these notes as perfectly as one particularly funky, and dank, IPA that has built up quite a bit of buzz in the last several months.  This weekend, Deviant Dales IPA from Oskar Blues Brewery in Colorado will be taking its place among the taps at Local Roots Restaurant here in Roanoke.  Reportedly, it’s an elevated and extremely well dry hopped version of their Dale’s Pale Ale, and is not to be missed.  Let it warm just a bit for all the flavors to uncover themselves.  All the elements are there – piney, earthy, resinous hops flood both the aroma and the flavor in this deliciously complex and flavorful beer.  In lesser hop bombs, it can sometimes be easy to pick out the moments at which each hop characteristic runs across your tongue.  In Deviant, you’ll taste its slight pine, puckering grapefruit and bitter rind, big herbal earthiness, and resinous hop flavors as they are occur all at once, not unlike funk band instrumentalists going on their own solos but staying within a groove, building one heck of a deep, soulful blues jam, all held in check by a bass line of perfectly placed deep caramel malt.  This malt and the carbonation give the beer a wonderful feel and help those hoppy – dank – flavors coat the mouth, making sure that the raw satisfaction lingers for some time.  As it finally begins to show signs of fading from your taste buds, you’ll most likely say it, as my friend did.  And even if you don’t, one thing’s for sure. As a grin likely starts to unfold on the edge of your slightly puckered mouth, you’ll definitely feel it.

Visit the Oskar Blues’ website here!

and the Local Roots Restaurant site here!

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~ by thebeerroad on April 20, 2012.

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