Noble Ale Works. A new brewery from Orange County? I thought The Bruery had the monopoly on Orange County's craft beer. I had never heard of this brewery until late last year when I saw its Dark Sybian IPA listed on the tap board at Pizza Port Ocean Beach. I tried Noble's black IPA and was impressed. It was assertive yet approachable. It struck the right note between its roasted malts and its hop bitterness. The best words I can use to describe Dark Sybian are smooth and drinkable. It had a satisfying full body richness that's a must in all quality stouts and porters, and now in black IPAs, which made it an enjoyable beer. Its abv was around 7%, so it's not an evening stopper, like some big, dark ales, and its approachability could easily make several pints a reality. I'd like to try more of Noble's beers, in particular, its Alpha Red imperial red ale.
If I have one knock on this beer it's that Noble calls Dark Sybian IPA a Cascadian Dark Ale. Call it a black IPA, a hoppy porter, a bitter stout, anything but a Cascadian Dark Ale. No brewer outside the Willamette Valley should use this term, especially one from Orange County, which is probably the most antithetical area of the country to someone from Portland. If Noble is looking for credibility from the Northwest, it won't happen, especially a brewer from the crass, commercial home of Disneyland and endless strip malls. It's unfortunate that the myopic beer elitists in Portland dismiss most brewers that can't see the Willamette River from their brewery, because Dark Sybian IPA is worth trying.