Oskar Blues Brewery
Beers from Oskar Blues Brewery currently at the Mayor:Fugli (Yuzu & Ugli) IPA
Great canned beer? The term has been an oxymoron for craft beer lovers used to getting their full-flavored beers from bottles only. But in November of 2002, Oskar Blues Brewery (in tiny Lyons, Colorado, pop.1400) changed that by launching its “Canned Beer Apocalypse.”
The brewery began hand-canning its hoppy, assertive-but-elegant Dale’s Pale Ale on a table-top machine that sealed just one can at a time. The move made Oskar Blues the first US craft brewer to brew and can its own beer.
Why cans? “We thought the idea of our big, luscious pale ale in a can was hilarious,” recalls founder Dale Katechis. “And it made our beer immensely portable for outdoor enjoyment fun.” Katechis and his crew then discovered other bennies of aluminum cans. “Cans keep beer incredibly fresh by fully protecting it from light and oxygen.”
And unlike cans of old, the modern aluminum can is lined with a coating so beer and metal never touch. Cans are also easier to recycle, free of glass breakage issues, and less fuel-consuming to ship. (35% of the weight of a bottle of beer is the bottle itself.)
But it’s the beers inside of the Oskar Blues cans that have wowed beer experts and consumers. The many honors for Dale’s Pale Ale include Top American Pale Ale from the New York Times and World’s Best Canned Beer from Details magazine.
Honors for Oskar Blues’ Old Chub Scottish Style Ale — an 8% ABV, semi-sweet dark beer with luxurious flavors of coffee, chocolate and a kiss of smoke — include Top Rated Scottish Ale from Beeradvocate.com.
G’Knight is an imperial red ale (8.7% ABV) with an intense aroma, a rich middle of malts and hops, and a surprisingly comfy finish for a beer of its size. Its honors include a 2008 World Beer Cup medal, “Top 5 US Extreme Beers” from the New York Times and “Best in Show” at the 2009 International Canned Beer Festival.
The brewery’s new Mama’s Little Yella Pils is an all-malt pilsner (5.3% ABV) made with hearty amounts of pale malt, German specialty malts, and a blend of Bavarian hops.
“We’re in this to have fun and put some extra joy on the planet,” Katechis says. “We love the way people’s heads spin around after they try one of our four-dimensional canned beers. ‘That came out of a can?’ We hear it all the time.”