North American Organic Brewers Festival organizers joined forces with Hopworks Urban Brewery to brew a revolutionary Cascadian Dark Ale, dubbed Secession, which debuted at the NAOBF June 26-28th in Portland’s Overlook Park.
Secession is characterized by an alliance of militant Northwest hop flavors as powerful as Cascadia’s coniferous forests, and roasty malts as black as the rubber boots Cascadians don from September to June, (and brewers wear year round).
Secession is brewed in the emerging Cascadian Dark Ale style, often mistakenly called Black IPA. Pioneered by brewers in Newport, Oregon and Victoria, BC the style has been gaining traction across Cascadia and further afield. NAOBF organizers Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a homebrewer since 1995, and Izaak Butler who has helped him brew many 10-gallon batches of CDA, teamed up with Hopworks Brewmaster Christian Ettinger and Assistant Brewmaster Ben Love to brew 20 barrels of Secession on Hopworks’ biodiesel-fueled brewkettle. Secession is a classic example of this truly indigenous Cascadian beer style, bountifully hopped with Nugget, Magnum, Centennial, Atahnum, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops from first wort to the fermenter. Its 70 units of bitterness are offset by a roasty character from organic chocolate and Carafa malts, with a hint of caramel lurking in the forest of hop flavors.
A Cascadian Almanac:
Boundaries: Cascadia stretches from the redwood forests of Northern California to the craggy coastal islands of northern British Columbia and east to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Flag: a Douglas Fir rampant on a horizontal tri-color of Blue, white, and green
Official Animal: Chinook salmon. Official Tree: Western Red Cedar National Costume: Rubber boots, blue jeans, tshirt, hoodie. Carhartts, polar fleece, and gortex also figure prominently in Cascadian attire.
Cascadia (defined by the Seattle-based Sightline Institute):
Named for the Cascade Mountains -- and for the cascading waterfalls that pepper the region -- Cascadia is bound together by salmon and rivers, by snowcapped mountains and towering forests. The region's population exceeds 16 million; its economy is larger than Russia's; and its land area is larger than France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.
The people of Cascadia share not only geography but also an aspiration: to live well in their place. Slowly and gradually, Cascadia is realigning its economy and way of life so that both people, and the natural system that support and enrich their lives, can thrive.
With its natural beauty, 30% of the world’s hops and some of the most innovative beers on the planet, Cascadia is well worth toasting. So raise a glass of Secession that we might, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1813, “see a free, great, and independent empire on the banks of the Columbia River.”