Phillips Brewing’s Black Toque beer is as dark as your ex’s heart

Written by Rob Mangelsdorf

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Phillips-Brewing
Black Toque by Phillips Brewing. Photo: Rob Mangelsdorf

Victoria’s Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. has been on the forefront of the craft beer movement since opening in 2001, and the re-release of Black Toque harkens back to a time when everything was shiny and new.

If you’ve ever had a Cascadian dark ale before, well, this is the beer that’s largely responsible for pioneering that style (also known as American black ale, or black IPA).

Black Toque was originally released 13 years ago and its audacious pairing of dark roasted malt and characteristic Northwest hops quickly got the attention of the craft beer world. The beer was rebranded as Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale, then disappeared completely from Phillips’ lineup in 2015. But like a long-forgotten ex you haven’t seen in years, Black Toque is back and it will not be ignored. Unlike said ex, however, you’re actually going to be happy to see this beer.

Fair warning, though, Cascadian dark ales can be a divisive beer style. At their worst, they are jumbled messes; unbalanced, with malt and hops competing for attention. At their best, the robust malt flavours support and complement the hop bittering, providing for a uniquely complex and flavourful beer.

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Black Toque most definitely falls into the category of the latter.

This beer is as bold as ever, with intense roasted malt notes and piney, citrus hop flavours. It’s as dark (and likely as cold) as your ex’s heart, with a some lingering bitterness, too.

You may have moved on in the past 13 years, but you’ll never forget the first one.

Phillips Brewing’s Black Toque Cascadian Dark Ale

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black, with a dense, persistent tan head.

Aroma:
Big Northwest hop aroma of pine, citrus and floral notes, backed up by a sweet, roasted maltiness.

Flavour:
Roasted malt, citrus, pine, coffee notes, chocolate, toast, molasses, spice, burnt sugar, mild tannin astringency.

Body:
Lighter then the colour suggests—medium bodied, with a dry finish and lingering bitterness.

Pairs with:
S’mores, dark-coloured knitted caps of French Canadian origin, and spending the day looking through old photo albums.