Need a Little Help Here!
A Review of Dad's Little Helper by Rogue Ales / Oregon Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/7/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
There is a certain type of beer that I have found myself partaking of recently that I think deserves some attention. The ''confusing beer''. There are numerous ways that a beer can fall into this category. Things ranging from strange mouthfeel, too odd flavors and aromas, and numerous other factors can all cause a beer to end up being a head scratcher. Most of the time those head scratching moments add up for an overall bad beer drinking experience. Occasionally though, those cranium clawers are accompanied by tummy rubbing and lip smacking. One of my favorite examples of this is Dad's Little Helper Black IPA by Rogue Ales.

Just saying the style of this beer is enough to justify taking a moment for contemplation. For most people, black and IPA are two things that simply don't go together. In beer terms, usually when you hear the word ''black'', you think about coffee, and chocolate, and stouts. Along those same lines, when you hear IPA, you're thinking caramel and honey colorations, along with fluffy, bright white heads. Those are simply rules that we have been programmed to accept and expect. Yet when you get this beer, all those rules have to be tossed out the window.

Once in the glass, your eyes and brain are instantly locked in an epic battle. This beer looks just like a stout. As the name suggests it is as black as a beer can get and sitting on top is a thick tan head. You immediately question yourself. You read the name and it says its an IPA. You look at it in the glass and it screams stout. You look back at the name and it still reads IPA. You slowly look back at the glass, and still sitting in front of you is what seems to be a lovely stout. It is not until you get your nose in the glass that the IPA characteristics start to come through. While it carries a low laying malt backbone, the nose is front loaded with some very rich and bold hops aromas. One can easily pick out pine, grapefruit, and even some general herbal notes. They tend to become more muted as the beer sits, and the malts start to come through a bit more clearly. Chocolate and cocoa appear in very light layers, while an overall roasted feeling consumes the glass.

When you take that first sip, the confusion continues. The mouthfeel is more towards a light stout, while hops bite is definitely straight from the world of the IPAs. As far as flavors go, there is a well balanced mixture of hops and malts up front. The hops flavor is a little more towards grapefruit, while the mall tends to be more of a roasted caramel. As it warms, the beer definitely takes on more of the IPA characteristics. There remains a good hops bite and citrus flavors throughout the session. And while the roasted malts tend to take a backseat as the temperature rises, they never truly disappear, but instead start to come through in lighter and lighter notes. A really good way of describing the beer is to think of a really well done IPA that has been wrapped in a nice, light porter jacket.

Personally, I feel like Rogue Ales has a really fun beer here. If nothing else, Dad's Little Helper Black IPA could provide plenty of entertainment during a session. Your eyes continuously refuse to accept the fact that they are not looking at a stout, while your mouth is forced to accept over and over proof that this is indeed an IPA. It is a true battle of the senses. I would definitely recommend some of the more experience drinkers give this one a try. At worst it will leave you with something to think about, while at best it will open your eyes to a lesser known style. I would probably suggest that the less experienced drinker stay away from it though. If you don't have a good grasp on the basic rules of the better beer world, this one could bring on catastrophic levels of confusion. As for me, I can't wait to get my hands on another. It seems that I'm always in some state of confusion anyway. At least with this in hand, I'll have a good excuse as to why.

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Dad's Little Helper by Rogue Ales / Oregon Brewing Co.
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