Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Oskar Blues Brewery's Deviant Dale's IPA

Locale:  Expanded to Longmont, CO
Craft Circa: 1999
Style:  American IPA
ABV:  8%
IBUs:  85
Notables:  2011 GABF Silver Medal Winner American India Pale Ale Category

Label:  The label is defiant and brushes off the idea you are about to sip something mysterious and satanic.  It is the color of the devils, THE DEVILS!  The can proclaims “Let’s sling a little mud, girl - - Sippin’ on a tall boy” which are lyrics from a Widespread Panic song “Tall Boy.”  Nice association. 

Overall:  When I get together with buddies back home, at least one of them brings some Dale’s Pale Ale with them to throw into the mix.  It’s Oskar’s flagship beer, and a nice staple to have for just about any occasion.  It’s not a personal choice of mine, but I have no problems with the beer, and it’s quite good by can standards.  With that said, I’m always looking for a bit more bite when it comes to ales, and I was excited to come across this at the local grocer, and give it a chance in the pitching rotation.   I was hoping maybe this can was indicating Dale was in fact being deviant, smuggled across some illegal suped hops from a foreign land, went to his laboratory and built a concoction that would blow Oskar pale ale lovers out of the water like a mad scientist.

The brew pours very nicely, looking like a cumulus cloud floating above ale.  The aroma is nice, but nothing jumps out at you.  The beer in fact came off more caramel than anything else; we’ll go with chewy caramel to an extent.  Any floral notes that try to sound off are shhh’d like a jackass at a movie theater.  The brew pours nicely, has nice head, and comes off shining copper like a penny.  I would probably bucket this as a fall seasonal IPA as it has amber characteristics along with the strong malt presence.  It comes off silky smooth, with mellow sugars killing any bitterness that may be hiding within the can. 

Those are quality features in a beer, but I look for a little more bite with an IPA.  It’s a decent beer but was hoping for more. There are too many can aspects bringing this beer down, including aluminum or metallic hints in the flavor.  This year actually marks Oskar’s 10 year CANniversary.  What’s with the can though on all their products?  According to their website, they thought the idea of their big luscious pale in a can was hilarious, and continued with it.  They claim their cans are modern, and lined with a water-based coating so beer and metal never touch, with no exchange of metallic flavor.  Shows you how much I know.  All that aluminum hint I was picking up must have been psychological. 

Either way, overall I give this beer a resounding m’eh.  Despite the higher ABV, the ale does come off surprisingly lighter, and lacks the mouth feel you get from typical IPAs.  A tad pricey for a 4 pack of tall boys as well.  There are plenty more IPAs out there with a  hop malt balance I seek at a much better price. 

Acquisition:  4 pack of tall boys - $14

Windfall:  I was really hoping to like this beer because during my mini research session, the more I was reading about the brewery the more I liked it.  They have a persona and attitude about them that intrigues me.  I would even categorize this brewery as having a cult following.  They definitely have their hardcore patrons, as I know a couple of them.   More importantly however, they also dig giving back to the community they live and work in. 

We all know that 2012 has been a rough year for Colorado, including wildfires among other things.  Oskar Blues Brewery has and continues to do their part in giving back to the community that helped them get to where they are today.  This includes a tap take over even in the Chicago area at a couple fine establishments including one of my personal favorites Fountainhead with proceeds going to wildfire victims. 

So keep a look out for local tap take overs in your area, or if you care to partner with Oskar on a cause, feel free to check out their donation and partnership page for more information.  It’s a win-win.  Good beer, good cause.


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