Meh on this one, a rare misstep from the usually excellent Oskar Blues. Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA pours a deep amber with a resinous and vegetal aroma. There are lots of hops, lots of sweet malts, and lots of alcohol, but there is no balance whatsoever. It just whomps you in the mouth, and there is something weird in the flavor that I have never experienced in a beer before, like a fermented vidalia onion, plus a soapy astringency which I have had before, sad to say. I finished it, but only just, 5/10.
Summer’s Here and The Time is Right for Drinking in The Streets: Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Victory Prima PilsAugust 21, 2012
Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues is a crisp pilsner, slightly fruity smelling, mildly herbal and grassy tasting, with a pale yellow color and a quickly dissipating foamy white head. It pours crystal clear, and has a mild lemon zest flavor, with an aftertaste of mildly toasted grains. This is not a hop bomb, but no pilsners can make that claim. I popped this open after a run in the Florida sun and enjoyed this refreshing beer immensely, 7.5/10.
Prima Pils from the always excellent Victory Brewing is a bit different from the usual pilsner. Remember when I said that no pilsners can claim to be hop bombs? The Prima Pils almost makes a liar of me, as it is more aggressively hopped than is the norm for a pilsner. Beer purists probably object to this, because it fails to adhere to the standards set forth by the Great Beer Council of 1512, but I am ok with it. The flavor starts off mild and herbal before the grapefruit zest and black pepper hops kick in on the back end. I am not saying this a hop bomb beer, but it is certainly a hop bomb pilsner, making the Prima Pils a pilsner for IPA lovers. The 5.3% ABV is low enough to make this a good session beer. This is not the standard to compare other pilsners to, as it quite different, but it is delicious, 7.5/10.
As the end of the year approaches, it is time for the 2010 Tiltie Awards, the most prestigious awards to be found anyplace on these here intertubes. We (‘we’ is a lie, it is only me, sitting on the couch in my underwear, when I can find underwear that is, so yeah, sometimes I am naked) have been giving these Golden Can Opener Statues (no such statues exist) since the 1940s (another lie). While a Tiltie is not as prestigious as an Oscar (no kidding!), it is a shitload more valuable than a Grammy (this is true), which nobody cares about or, God help us, an Emmy, which is totally worthless (very fucking true) Those of you who sent adequate bribes have been handsomely rewarded. You stingy bastards get nothing. Ready, Set, Go!
Do you know what really chaps my ass? Alternate spellings of first names. Using my first name as an example, Shaun, Shawn, and, God help us, Chone, are unacceptable spellings of Sean. If it is good enough for Sean Connery, it is good enough for everyone.
This alternate spelling of Jennifer is the Queen of Alternate Spellings. What. The. Fuck. I am not sure what is more offensive: The way she spells her name, that she lists her profession as Child Caretaker/Magician’s Assistant, or that she lists her greatest accomplishment as, and I quote, “Being able to enrich the lives of others through dance has been my greatest aspiration.” The sad thing is that she is good looking enough that guys have been telling her that it is cool that she spells her name that way in a desperate attempt to get in her pants.
On to beer: Oskar Blues Old Chub is a scotch ale with a malty caramel body and a smoky aftertaste. It pours a deep mahogany with a cafe au lait colored head, a rich velvety mouthfeel, and a touch of coffee and chocolate in the aroma. I am generally not a fan of scotch ales, not hoppy enough for me, but this is a good one. Another winner from Oskar Blues, 7/10.
I have fallen a bit behind on reviewing beers, so I am going to do a quick round-up of some recent beers in ten words or less. Here we go:
Schmaltz Brewing He-Brew Rejewvenator (Year of the Date-2009): Too Sweet for me, match with salty pastrami, good marketing, 6/10.
Arcadia Brewing Big Dick’s Old Ale: Stupid name, vinegary, malty, possibly skunked, poured out, nothing else, N/A.
Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA: Run, do not walk, for this outstanding Imperial IPA, 8.5/10.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock: German Smoked beer, dry cured sausage, must try other styles, 7/10.
Southhampton Biere De Mars: Nice malty, hoppy, yeasty balance, smooth, bready aftertaste, delicious, 7.5/10.
YOWZA! This is a Stout’s Stout. Great espresso aroma and taste, with a chewy mouth feel, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Russian Imperial Stout is one of the top beers that Tilting Suds has come across in a lifetime of beer drinking. The pour is a beautiful, deep, deep black with a long lasting cappuccino colored head, and the bouquet from the malts and the hops in this beer is outstanding. The overwhelming flavor profile is of roasted grains and dark coffee, but there is enough hoppy bitterness to provide balance to any sweetness from the malts. The 10.5% ABV is nicely warming. With the weather as warm as it is here in North Jersey, I do not think I will be revisiting this beer any time soon, but when the leaves change and the weather cools, this will be a regular part of the stout rotation, 9.5/10.
After my recent dipshittery concerning canned beer, I have made an effort to seek out other examples of craft beer in cans as a sort of penance.* I have picked up a few over the past couple of weeks, and give them the once over here.
The Phoenix Pale Ale from Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox was a tasty concoction. The toffee malts are balanced by the mild hops, with the hops a bit stronger on the tongue than in the aroma. This poured a beautiful clear amber, with a frothy but quickly dissipating head. There is no ‘WOW’ factor with this beer, but it is smooth and flavorful, and at 5.1% ABV, you can knock back a few. It has earned a spot at the back of the rotation, 6.5/10.
San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing Company is not well known on the East Coast, but that should change soon as I am seeing their beers pop up in stores here more frequently. The Brew Free or Die IPA is smooth and mild, not too hoppy for a West Coast IPA, and the smoothness masks the 7.0% ABV. The hoppiness has a fruity aftertaste. Again, there is no ‘WOW’ factor with this beer, but it is another good one, 6.5/10.
Sweet Jeebus, this one knocked me on my ass. This was my last beer of the recent session with Mr. JK, and knocking back a beer with an 8.7% ABV when you are already pickled is not a smart idea. Drinking this was like getting cold cocked by Mike Tyson in his prime. I had another one for review purposes a few days later, and can report that the Oskar Gordon Ale is a fine beer. Hoppy and malty at the same time, the aroma and the taste are resinous, with a chewy mouth feel. You cannot drink many of these in a sitting, but the ones you do drink are enjoyable, 7.5/10.
*-Bless me, Father, for I have sinned
–What are your sins, my son?
-I made a misleading statement on the internet about canned beer
–Say three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys, and drink three canned beers
When I started drinking good beer, someone told me that bottles were better containers for beer because they did not impart any metallic taste to the beer in the way that cans did. There is a certain logic to that. Coke from a bottle tastes different from Coke from a can. The Coke in the can has a tinny flavor. However, storing beer in bottles has limitations. Light is the enemy of hops, and even dark glass bottles let some light in, leading to a deterioration of taste. It may not matter with a beer like Corona which has no taste anyway, hell, they sell that stuff in clear glass bottles, but better beers are usually sold in brown glass bottles to limit the impact of light on the flavor. Some craft brewers use six pack carriers with high sides to further reduce light exposure. In terms of reducing light deterioration, cans are superior to bottles.
It was only a matter of time before a craft brewer started using cans instead of bottles, and Colorado’s Oskar Blues is the first that I am aware of to do so. I thought “marketing gimmick” the first time I saw their cans, thinking they were appealing to the hipster crowd who ironically drink Pabst Blue Ribbon from a can, but it does make some sense from a brewer’s point of view. Brief Sidenote: Is there anything that can be done to the thin the hipster herd a bit? I had such high hopes for the various Middle East Wars, hoping that a draft would be instituted and take some of those mopey bastards off the streets, but no such luck.
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale pours a nice deep copper color with a medium. It is hoppy on the nose and the taste, mostly citrus, balanced by a bready malt flavor. Was there any metallic flavor? Yeah, I thought I noticed a slight aluminum taste, but I drank this with the bottle can in front of me, so it may have been entirely in my head. (That’s right, I wrote bottle at first, and posted it that way even after proofreading). I would like to either try this in a blind taste test or side by side with a draft to see if I still detect that aluminum. 6.5/10.
UPDATE: After getting some emails and a comment on the subject, I did some research and found that Oskar Blues uses a special coating on the inside of the cans which prevents any metallic flavors being imparted into the beer, so that “aluminum” I tasted was a complete figment of my imagination. I found this information by poking around the Oskar Blues website for all of about fifteen seconds. The lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.