Monday, April 15, 2013

Oskar Blues G'Knight Red IPA

A few months back, I was wondering the aisles of a local beer and wine store, looking for wines to pair with courses for one of our wine club dinners.  As I was looking for Riesling Sekt Trockens and Marsannes, I came across a display and beer tasting for Oskar Blues.   Located in Longmont, Colorado, Oskar Blues is one of the craft brewers to fully embrace the use of cans for its beers.  At the time, canned beer was seemingly the province of the Anheuser-Busch or Miller.  You were more likely to find Busch Light or Budweiser cans, than any craft beer.  Although I do not know whether Oskar Blues was the first craft brewer to can its beers, I do know that its beers are perhaps most the most commonly associated with cans rather than bottles. 

Back to that beer tasting, I did what everyone else did ... sample the whole range of Oskar Blues beers.  I was very familiar with some of the brewery's standards, like Dale's Pale Ale and Mama's Little Yellow Pils.  There was one beer that I had not seen before.  It was the G'Knight, an Imperial Red Ale.  I've tried all sorts of imperial beers, from imperial porters to imperial white beers, but an imperial red beer is rather unusual. I have previously tried a couple of Imperial Red Ales, like the Nosferatu and the Monstre Rouge, and, I decided to give the G'Knight a try.

Oskar Blues brewed this Imperial Red Ale in tribute to a fellow Colorado craft beer pioneer and Vietnam vet who died fighting a 2002 wild fire outside of Lyons, Colorado.  The brewers describe their “Velvet M-80” as "a hefty, dry hopped double-red ale with a nose full of aroma, a sticky mouthfeel, a malty middle and unctuous hop flavors." 

The G'Knight pours a nice reddish amber color, with a thick, slightly off-white foam.  The aromas are hop-driven, with some pine and resin up front, followed through by some sweeter elements, like caramel, which are from the malts used in the production of the beer.  The taste of this beer is very hop-centric.  The hop flavors are more toward the piney and resinous, rather than the citrus.  What is interesting is that, while I found there was a lot of hoppiness to this beer, some reviewers seemed more preoccupied with the malt flavors.  To them, the beer was more malt-driven than hop driven.  While I could definitely taste the bready and caramel flavors provided by the malts, I would not classify this red ale as a malt-driven beer.  I guess this is to be expected given reviewing beers has a substantial subjective component to it.

In any event, the G’Knight is a rather big beer, with an 8.7% ABV and 60 IBUS.  The beer is sold in four-packs for about $10.99.  For detail about the craft beer pioneer and Vietnam Veteran for whom this beer is dedicated, check out: www.N3978Y.com.

ENJOY!

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