Oskar Blues IPA you say? I thought they already had one? Well, yes and no. The flagship beer, Dale’s Pale Ale, has long been argued and debated as to whether it is a true Pale Ale, or an IPA. It sits on the shelf branded as a Pale, but it comes across as a malty, rich, and supremely bitter pale…Certainly treading on some gray area, while still remaining a fantastic beer. In addition to Dale’s, there is Gubna’ the big 10% ABV super IPA, which comes across as more hop forward and focused. There was also Deviant Dale’s, which was an excellent double IPA. There was also Gordon (G’Knight), which was a supremely bitter, dank, resinous, sweet, hoppy red ale. Oh, and there is Pinner, the dry, bubbly, low alcohol IPA. All were fantastic, but all were priced 2-3x others on the shelf. Were they worth it? Absolutely, but did they sell? Sure, but not as well as they could have. While Oskar Blues has always excelled at making excellent beers, they have never previously had a dedicated “IPA” in their line up of offerings, (don’t tell this to Lagunitas).
So what can we expect from this one? Probably some earthy, dank, elevated hop character, with a fresh and rich malt balance? Sounds about right for Colorado, right? No, not quite…This IPA actually has no domestic hop varieties, it features a plethora of Australian grown hops, specifically Vic Secret, Ella, Topaz, and Enigma hops. Sounds like a party to me. To give you an inkling at Oskar Blues’ process for new product development, just take a glance at this scratch pad below, and try to decipher the direction of the beer —
*Courtesy of Paste
Brewery: Oskar Blues — Lyons, Colorado
Cost: $1.49 / 12oz Can (of course)
Appearance – (4/5) First things first, this can does not scream “Oskar Blues” it is much too bright, bedazzled, and elevated when compared to the rest of their lineup. It does however “pop” on the shelf, and certainly looks new, if OB was aiming for a new direction, this could certainly spark it. Okay, okay, onto the beer. As it pours out of the can it appears quite light and pale yellow in color. Actually very light for an IPA, almost looks like a Pils, reminds me a lot of pFriem’s Blonde IPA, the way it pours. Light white colored head appears and settles into a thin layer, leaving behind some spotty and mostly consistent lacing.
Aroma — (4/5) Immediately upon cracking open the can, there is a very bright and vibrant aroma that fills the room. Lots of tropical fruits here, big hit of pineapple, mango, guava, papaya, orange, grapefruit. Really delicious smelling just sitting there. As it warms there is a bit of a grainy balance that appears and it is quite sweet smelling overall.
Taste — (4/5) Taste is similar to the nose, as it is dominated by hops, and sweet, juicy tropical fruits. This is like cutting open and slicing some fresh mangos, pineapples, guava, papaya, all on a table and munching away. Fruit forward and juicy. All that said, it manages to find a grainy, malty balance. There was a major opportunity here to overdo things and make this too sweet. There is a bit of restraint shown as this just tip-toes along the line of being too sweet, while still remaining fresh and tropical and bright.
Mouthfeel — (3.5/5) Light-Medium bodied, a little more oomph and presence than Pinner has, without being as heavy or malty as Dale’s.
Overall — (4/5) This is very well done, very nice new hop profiles are showcased here, in fact this is eerily similar to Stone 19th Anniversary Ale “Thunderstruck.” Though that beer was exceedingly sweet and overly alcoholic. This is a great representation of tropical fruit aromas and lightly sweet malts. Very hop forward without being heavy or cloyingly sweet. Another winner from OB.