Monday, February 6, 2012

Boulder County Trilogy #3: Oskar Blues Brewing

On the way from Avery out to Left Hand, we cruised past the monstrous and irreverently named eyesore of Oskar Blues' main brewpub in Longmont, Home Made Liquids and Solids (coincidentally, this is also what Andy calls his bathroom). However, a ways off the beaten path, they have a second tap room, the Tasty Weasel, which was our third and final stop of the Boulder County beer tour.

1800 Pike Rd, Unit B
Longmont, Colorado 80501

303-776-1914 ext. 313

Oskar Blues is sort of the new kid on the block in the Colorado craft brew scene, and also the belle of the ball, it seems. Their beer has been pushed aggressively and received with enthusiastic acclaim since the brewery's inception. I remember wandering around the beer aisle at Liquor Mart in Boulder many years ago and having some random dude walk up to me and say "Hey, man, if you're looking for some beer, I hear this Dale's Pale Ale is awesome," only to walk by him and see that he was wearing an Oskar Blues polo shirt with his name on it. Up to this point, I hadn't spent much time with Oskar Blues' stuff, so here was a good chance to see what all the fuss is about.

The exterior of the Tasty Weasel is impressively nondescript, as the photo above shows (picture it without the Christmas decor- it looks like a boring old warehouse). When you walk in the door, it's immediately obvious that Oskar Blues is not Avery or Left Hand. The Tasty Weasel is basically the dive bar of craft beer taprooms. There's barrels of peanuts, and it's $9 for 7 4-oz pours, only two of which on this day were sub-8% ABV.

The first beer in the flight was Mama's Little Yella Pils. It was clean and easy- I basically shot it, because at this point in the tour a pilsner was essentially just a hydrating mechanism. Next was Dale's Pale Ale, their flagship brew. I thought it was a pretty standard pale- you could have one or eight, and be content either way. Things escalated with the third beer, G'Knight, their imperial red and the first 8%+ taster. I thought this was quite good, nice and floral, and malty but dry. The fourth beer was Gubna, their IIPA. This one stood out so much that I've decided to address it at the end. Fifth was Old Chub, their scotch ale. It's a malt bomb (as it should be), and in a bit of foreshadowing, it's not often that a scotch ale serves as a delicious palate cleanser. My future sister-in-law commented that it smells like Bonnie Bell Tinker Bell lip gloss, and obviously I had to take her at her word. Sixth was Ten Fidy, their Imperial stout. I'd think I'd call this the best-in-show of their regular line (with the G'Knight a close second), and the first one I'd revisit. Last in the flight was a special 50% Ten Fidy/50% Old Chub mix brewed with winter spice. It tasted a bit like they mixed the two beers with the potpourri my mom used to have all over the house during Christmas, and then dissolved a Hot Tamale in it. Not my favorite, but I could see how it would be appealing to some. To top things off, they tapped a cask-conditioned double dry-hopped G'Knight right before we were about to leave, and I couldn't resist. The cask conditioning gave it a silky smooth mouthfeel, and the double dry hopping made it like chewing on a pinecone in a very appealing way. Absolutely delicious.

OK, now back to the Gubna. I partially agree with Andy's review, but I have to go a step further. Frankly, Oskar Blues should be ashamed of this beer. Now, I'll grant that my palate wasn't exactly razor sharp at that point in the day's activities, but beer should never smell and taste like spoiled cheese, regardless of the state of one's palate. It's hard to believe that they're willing to submit this into the IPA market, and it's even more egregious that they charge what they do for it. Hell, the $1.29 for the taster was at least $1.30 too much. It's hard to comprehend that they're capable of crafting a beer as good as the casked G'Knight, but the Gubna is such a resounding clusterfuck. So, while I can appreciate what Oskar Blues brings to the Colorado and US craft brew scenes, and I definitely enjoyed visiting the Tasty Weasel and would go back in a heartbeat, until they improve (or even scrap) the Gubna, the supposed belle of the ball is a two-face.

P.S. I should note that they had Skee-Ball in the Tasty Weasel. While it would have been cooler if you could win the little tickets and trade them in for beer, it's still fun.

P.P.S. Hopefully next year a wider-ranging Colorado tour can be in the cards...Odell, Great Divide, and Breckenridge, maybe?

1 comment:

  1. Community peanut troughs rule. How many times, you think, has a disgruntled worker dipped his balls in that thing?