Well, there go those crazy American brewmasters again. Making more work for me. You see, the India Dark Ale style has been around for quite some time, having been first concocted all the way back in 1990 by Greg Noonan at the Vermont Pub and Brewery. Now, though, it seems brewers have taken that uniquely American style and modified it again. Like some beery bionic man, they’ve made it better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster. OK, maybe not faster, but you get the idea.
The result: Double India Dark Ale. Humor me here, because I am of this mind on Double India Dark Ale (DIDA for short). We have India Pale Ale. We have India Dark Ale. We have Double India Pale Ale. Why can’t we have Double India Dark Ale? Let’s take a look at Noonan’s original version, Blackwatch IPA which you can still get at the Vermont Pub and Brewery. It has about 60 IBUs and an alcohol content of 6.2% by volume, close to a modern American IPA.
Now we’ll contrast that with Sweetwater Dank Tank Some Strange II Black India Pale Ale, because that’s the beer I’m drinking today and got me started down this path. The Roman numerals “II” appear to stand for double, but really I’ve been seeing lots of beers creep up to the Double India Dark Ale standard. In my mind, anything over 8% alcohol by volume qualifies as DIDA. They seem to be rather popular here in Georgia, as Jailhouse has its Midnight Special (10% ABV), Red Hare a Bitter Hearts brew (9%), and Red Brick’s Black-Eye Rye. Sweetwater’s Some Strange falls in on the higher end, too, at 10%.
Some Strange is part of their Dank Tank series of limited release beers. I got a 22 ounce bomber bottle at Kroger for $6.29, not bad by today’s pricing standards. Some Strange is brewed with hopped with “Amarillo, Pacific Jade and Zythos, and then dry-hopped to top it off with Falconer’s Flight, Falconer’s 7 C’s and Topaz” according to Beerpulse.com; Sweetwater is not very specific about the beer on their own site or the bottle. Annoyingly, they spend more time ranting about nonsense instead. They do add on the bottle, however, that Some Strange was the first beer brewed in their newly expanded brewhouse.
Sweetwater Dank Tank Some Strange II Black India Pale Ale pours to a jet black color with a thick creamy tan head and a respectable but not really robust piney hop nose. The palate is smooth, not overly thick and chewy and hence in keeping with the IPA mindset. There is good roasty chocolate here, lots of dark malty goodness going on. In the finish, the piney hop aroma arises and merges nicely with a sharp grassy bitterness and hint of roastiness at the last. I like the nice resiny hop burps, too. This beer does NOT seem 10% ABV at all, at least not to me. It’s dangerously drinkable for that reason.
Definitely a beer that I would buy again, but being a one-off Dank Tank release, I probably won’t be able to for long.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.