Monday, September 24, 2012

US brewery spotlight: Oskar Blues

If it was something that I was looking forward to during my recent trip stateside, it was to sample some of the Oskar Blues brews, mostly and mainly Dale´s Pale Ale. I am a hop lover, I love bitter brews, being a pale ale, ipa or dipa, I dont care, if it is bitter and demanding I will probably like it. I must confess that hopes were pretty high. Oskar Blues pretty ticks every box on my agenda, they are based in Colorado, environmental friendly with their canning policy, relate their products to mountain biking and are pretty well known for awesome beers. I had scouted which bars in DC carried Oskar Blues and I was pleasantly surprised to see Dale´s Pale Ale on the menu at Proof in DC´s Chinatown. It was a rainy day and we had walked along the memorials all day in the rain and I was pretty thirsty. Dale´s Pale Ale did not disappoint. Delicious and hoppy, but also well balanced with an obvious malt tone but not too overpowering. Weighing in at 6.5% abv, this was almost a perfect pale ale. I went through my trip not finding a single can of Oskar Blues, until in Durham North Carolina on my way to the airport. We had scheduled a lunch stop in Durham and I had checked what was the best place to buy beer in Durham. With almost no time to spare until our flight we visited Sam´s Quik Shop and behold, countless Oskar Blues cans (among a very good selection) and I was able to stock up on both the IPA and the IIPA. It was also the perfect travel beer, because aluminum does not weigh shit.
The Goubna Imperial IPA was simply out of this world, and perhaps the best double ipa I have tasted. Big big palate and a hop bite of 100 ibu´s it is a joy to drink. It´s not as sweet as some of the dipa´s I´ve tasted but was well balanced nonetheless. It´s a single hop dipa, loaded with Summit hops, a variety you don´t see everyday in a DIPA. Along with rye malt this fantastic brew is highly drinkable and ranks up with the very best.
The regular IPA is an oddball. Deviant Dale´s IPA is much more then a session ipa. At 8% abv and a whopping 85 IBU, it can almost be ranked as a dipa. Sweeter than the Goubna, this bad boy does deliver the punch. I will do anything I can to get some Ten Fidy´s for the coming winter. I dream of heaven and heaven must be Colorado... note: my own pics for this post are pending

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

US brewery spotlight : New Glarus

Back in 2004 I was so lucky to taste a great cherry beer called New Glarus Belgian Red. If my memory serves me right I got this bottle along with a fantastic Tripel from the same brewery from a Ratebeerian in Wisconsin after winning the NCAA pool that year. Little did I know of this special brew he sent me. Since then I have not found a Kriek or a fruit beer that matched that beer, and has since that day been one of the best beers I´ve sampled in my lifetime.

Fast forward to 2012. A fellow blogger is visiting Iceland and contacts me. After meeting him in downtown Reykjavik for a few drinks he informs that he is born and raised in Wisconsin and rates this brewery pretty highly, and also tells me that their beer is almost impossible to get outside of Wisconsin. So he made a promise that if I would ever visit him he would hook me up with some more of their stuff.

So when I met him 2 weeks ago in Washington he did just that! Gave me more of the amazing elixir that New Glarus brew to sample during my trip in the south.

Like with the Belgian Red, I had another amazing experience and a stand out in a certain style of beer. This time around it was the smoked. The Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale is simply an artwork of a beer, deep smokiness, and very big and sugary. Simply awesome. They are doing something very right over there in Wisconsin.

The Black IPA was very complex and delicate. I also got to sample the Very Naked and Spotted Cow, both low gravity beers but share a certain character. Both complex and unusual.

New Glarus have been around for some quite some time. Founded in 1993 by the Careys, Dan and Deborah, Deborah became the first woman to open up a brewery. Quite remarkebly, they also are one of the most rewarded brewery in the states, which is a fine achievement considering they only distribute within the state of Wisconsins.

The US is full of fantastic little micro breweries and it seems that New Glarus stands out among them. Big shout out to Skye over at Beer Fellows for the New Glarus hook up!

I will be writing more short segments on fantastic little and big breweries that are getting me excited..