Origin – United States of America
Style- American Pale Ale
The roots of Oskar Blues date back to 1997 when Dale and Chisti Katechis swung open the doors to their small family restaurant and bar. Located in Lyons, Colorado, at the gateway to the Rockies, they quickly become famous with the locals for their southern hospitality, some amazing pulled pork (long before it was fashionable with everyone from Newtown’s hipsters to George Street’s bankers) and nights filled live music. Like most lads, Dale grew up dabbling in a little home brewing, and after a late night of a few too many ales and way too many fried chicken wings, he and his mate Gordon Knight concocted the idea of setting up a brewing operation in the restaurant’s basement. It was a game changer, and before long they turned the place into a heavin’ brewpub. But the master stroke of genius came when he decided it was time to distribute his brews. In 2002, at a time when canned beer used to be the bad beer your dad drank while he mowed the lawn, the thought of craft brewer packaging beers in anything other than a bottle seemed absurd. But the lads did the unthinkable, putting their microbrews in cans, prompting a collective gasp all over the craft beer world about the effects it would have on our health. No doubt many of Oskar Blues’ tinnies can be blamed for the odd pregnancy, but from what I can find on Google, none have resulted in the birth of any 3-armed babies! In fact, I’m told the tinny’s flavour retention was so good, that in a New York Times blind testing in 2005, the Dales Pale Ale was awarded the best in the country. And over a decade later, take a swig of this voluminously hopped monster of a pale ale in a can and you can still see why. Somewhere between an American PA and an IPA, this 6.5%er brewed using European malts and American hops, pours clear and light amber colour. There’s a smell of pale malts, some grapefruit and plenty of floral hops. In the mouth, it’s crisp and complex with an unmistakable bitter hop bite right up front that is like a kick in the teeth. That bite is balanced with the malty backbone leaving behind a just a little caramel and toffee on the finish. With beers such as the Dale, it’s not surprising Oskar Blues has transformed from small-town restaurant to burgeoning brewing empire. So next time you crack open a tinny, which now accounts for approx. 20% of all craft beer packaging, you can raise a glass… correction, a can, to the now not so little brewer that started the craft-beer-in-a-can craze all those years ago.