Tag Archives: Oskar Blues

7pm Delays, delays, delays

It’s been a week where I am trying to find my Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator but cannot. My plans have been obstructed by forces I have no real comprehension of and less control over.

In my defense, I am not trying to destroy the planet so really, this kind of delay is not justified but it is nonetheless there.

sampler trayThis week, I’ve decided to flip the script, yo. Instead of getting a beer, I went for double samples as you can see from the picture. They are, from left to right, Oskar Blues‘ Old Chub on nitro (Scottish ale), Occidental‘s Sweven (belgian ale) and Bend’s Chin Ching (Berliner Weisse w/ pomegranate and hibiscus).

My issue with samples, most of the time, is that there isn’t quite enough beer to really get a sense of the ale. Enough to decide if you’d like more, but not quite enough to evaluate it, at least for me. Getting two samples offers me the opportunity to get a bigger picture, I hope.

Or, maybe the lesson I’m about to learn is that a single taster is plenty to figure out what’s going on there.

Old Chub is sweet and silky in the mouth-the nitro playing its role splendidly-and very much the kind of beer I could see have more than I meant to.

Sweven has a cherry nose, drying finish and is a bit thin in the middle. Drinkable but surprising.

The Ching Ching is tart! That I was not expecting at all-though with a little research I can see that I should have. I can definitely sense an herbal hint, though I don’t know that I can say: that’s hibicus, period and the pomegranate swings right over any mellowing the wheat elements might’ve given the beer. It’s so pink that I get the impression that I’m drinking pink lemonaid, which isn’t a bad description of the beer overall.

I wonder what kind of food people were eating in 19th Century Berlin, that this beer was the most popular one. I’m not sure what I’d eat with this except for sweet things and for a beer to be really popular, I’d just imagine that it would pair well with food. Maybe not? ┬áMaybe it became the hipster of beers and wasn’t cool anymore, when everyone wanted to drink it.

Mouth puckering from the B-W, I swing some water and go back to the Ching Ching. Maltier flavors become more apparent now, warmed up and following tartness. Somewhere between chocolate and caramel reside the malt flavors but not as sweet as a dubbel or tripel ale, making this one that is a bit more drinkable because I don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s not as dense and I like that.

Finally, I return to the Old Chub. There’s something a little strange now. Perhaps I cannot go back at this point, having the evil yeasts of sour and belgian beers corrupt my palate. This beer tastes off now, almost bubblegummy. It’s drinkable qualities have been overruled by something else and now there’s a touch of cough medicine there. It’s still drinkable but not pleasantly so.

So next time, I’ll have to remember that I can’t play the scales when I drink the samples.

Canned Goods

Drinking from a can is different. The metal radiates cold in a way that glass doesn’t; I can feel it in my nose, almost smelling the chill. Other senses are blunted; I can’t see what I’m drinking at all, until I’ve set the can down and seen what collected in the rim and certainly the scents of the beer are not what a sip from a glass would provide me.

The tab touches my nose, gently scraping the middle part between nostrils and for some reason the perspiration of the can stays on my fingers a little longer, as though the beer wants to make any impression it can, knowing it’s being cooped up. The last sip always out of reach because of the barrier between the opening and the edge of the can.

But cans are good. Light. Excellent protection against spoilage. Evoking the nostalgia of the 1970’s, when my Dad would open pull-tabs of Lucky or Rainier or sometimes just ‘beer’ beer.

And you can’t shotgun a bottle.

However, party antics aside I have had the opportunity to try some brews in cans this week and here are my impressions:

cansI got the Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale because I’ve recently made a Scotch ale and I wanted a basis for comparison. It’s a pretty malty beverage, with a lot of caramel flavors in it. I hesitate to suggest that it would go well as a dessert beer but perhaps as a counterbalance to really spicy meals; with Thai food I can see this as a very nice fit because it’s sweet, but light.

One major strike against it: it comes in those plastic six-pack rings, which are notoriously unfriendly to sea life. That’s just how I roll, baby.

I have to confess that I purchased 21st Amendment‘s Bitter American in part because there was a monkey on the can. All these years of beer experience and I want the one with the monkey.

First, they hopped this pretty well-despite drinking from the can, I can still get a hint of pine. It’s not much but it’s enough that makes me think maybe our senses are a little sharper than we give them credit for. The beer is light enough that I can clearly see to the bottom of the can.

The hops do tend to run away with this beer though. They finish strong in the mouth and there isn’t a lot of midrange there for me to pick up. But if you like a piney finish, then I have to say, this is a solid beer for you. It’s good enough that I’d be interested in trying it on tap, just to see how it changes. They say it’s a session ale and I have to admit that this is the kind of beer I can see drinking a few in a row with the peeps down at the local.

Finally, the Monk’s Blood, also from 21st Amendment. I was actually turned onto this beer by a buddy and I’ve always been pleased by this ale. It’s a belgian dark and while that means that at first blush it’s sweet, the brew quickly descends into a slightly tart ale, with, as promised on the can, hints of fig, vanilla, oak and even a bare touch of cinnamon.

I have to keep in my mouth a bit to pick all this up, which goes against how I’ve seen (and drank) beer drunk from cans for my entire life. Maybe that’s why really complex ales tend to be in bottles; people are inclined to drink those slower due to cultural influences.

But this brew is really good and raises up all the signs to ask you to slow down and taste it; high alcohol, conflicting flavors, a mideval script to read instead of drink. Slow down and see what I’ve got to offer, it says. It’s worth it.