Content and opinions by Kristi Yorks and Adam Kagy Good Things in Dark Places You never forget your first time – whether it’s your first IPA, your first summit, or your first bike. It’s an experience that stays with you and lingers days, months, and even years later. Founded in 1989, Odell is a brewery near to my heart. Odell’s Elephant IPA is the first IPA I fell for many years ago and has remained the favorite by which all other IPA’s are measured. My love affair with IPAs, and the mountains, came together in a single moment of crisp, cold, hoppy bliss one summer afternoon. But it’s not summer; it’s winter. Those bright yellow skies and fields have slipped into whites and greys, and the world, once green and bright, has drifted into a silver-lined blackness. It’s now a time for early evenings, warm fires, and dark places. It’s time for a new twist on my IPA love affair. Enter Odell’s Mountain Standard Double Black IPA – a beer bred for winter, something thick and rich, something dark. When I think of winter, I think of new beginnings and bold choices. I think of fat tires and fat skis, forbidden places, and uncharted lines. I think of open fields and roads, endless playgrounds and new stories to share. In accordance with the season, Mountain Standard is bold, daring to bring together the freshness of local Colorado hops harvested from the Western slope and the richness of malts into a dangerously inviting package. I wait until dark to pour my first glass. Yes, this beer deserves a glass. A nice one. The thick tan head floats atop an opaque, dark brown beer. The aroma of grapefruit and orange rinds bursts from the glass. Something full hits my tongue. Chocolate and caramel come first; Odell’s signature hops follow – classic and pronounced. The citrus is sharp, piercing the black. The robust bitterness eventually gives way to a sweet, malty finish. I stop. I savor. I keep drinking. Slowly. A true double IPA, Mountain Standard is a complex and powerful beer. It demands your full attention. Other black IPA’s have slipped into the realm of stouts and porters. Not Mountain Standard. It remains true to its roots and is impossible to ignore. Fans of Odell’s double IPA, Mercenary, will appreciate Mountain Standard’s raw edges and admire the combination of citrus candy and roasted chocolate. At 9.5%, Mountain Standard is daring, then smooth, and surprisingly drinkable. True to its name, Odell sets the standard by which all future black IPAs will be measured. Mountain Standard should be available until April, but I doubt it will last that long. Get it while you can. I love winter. I love this beer. It’s a dark night, and it’s a good one. ABV: 9.5% Value: $10.50 for a 4 pack Taste: 5 Style: 5 Appearance: 5 Aroma: 5 Verdict: The new standard and the best beer I’ve had this year. Buy it. Drink it. Buy it again.