Beer Review – The Brew Kettle – Valravn

"Pairs well with zombies, ghouls and the occasional roller coaster."

Beer: Valravn
Style: Red/Black IPA
ABV: 5.75%
8 Stars

This past Saturday was my office’s annual trip to Cedar Point. A popular destination for roller coaster enthusiasts, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is home to numerous thrill rides and attractions, but it’s the park’s horror-themed Halloweekends that I personally look forward to every year. When Summer makes its exit and Halloweentimes rears its fantastically ghoulish head, the park is transformed into a ghostly, haunted wonderland.

While I was looking forward to the macabre decor and spooktacular attractions on this visit, I wasn’t expecting much in way of beer. Amusement parks aren’t normally known for their stellar libation selection. However, I was happy to see a new addition to the park’s old-timey FrontierTown: a craft beer bar… an establishment that seems entirely ludicrous for the Old West, but man, it was a very welcome sight to my thirsty eyes. What better way to hit up half a dozen haunted houses than with a few beers in your guts?

This fine, rustic establishment featured a number of custom beers brewed exclusively for the park by Strongsville, Ohio’s Brew Kettle. The one I chose was Valravn, a Red/Black IPA named for the park’s newest roller coaster. I was a bit intrigued, as I’d never seen an IPA listed as both Red AND Black. What nonsense is this?

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear cup, it looked nearly black, but closer inspection showed it was a very, very dark red. I found that it tasted much like a black IPA, with heavy emphasis on the roasted malts. There were flavors of caramel and bread from the malts as well as some nice citrus and piney notes from the hops. It’s got quite a few happy little bubbles, making it a smooth, easy to drink brew. It’s not terribly heavy and the ABV is pretty low at just under 6%, so I could see myself enjoying quite a few of these before clambering into a seat on the Millennium Force.

It wasn’t as dark and overpowering in the roasted malts department as many black IPAs I’ve had, so perhaps that, along with the color, is why it’s listed as a Red/Black IPA as opposed to simply your standard Black IPA. Either way, it’s one of the better Black IPAs I’ve had and it was a very pleasant and tasty beer for a cool day at the park.

If you ever find yourself at America’s Roller Coast, relaxing in an adirondack chair next to a non-functioning water ride (while waiting for the sun to set and the ghouls and ghosts to come out), I would recommend spending that time drinking down a Valravn or two.