Michigan craft beer fans finally have their hands on the blues – Beverage World’s inaugural Craft Brewer of the Year “Oskar Blues”.
For the past decade, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery has been brewing craft beer and attracting a huge following with its trend-setting concept of beer-in-a-can. More craft breweries are climbing aboard the can concept, as the can protects its contents from sunlight and exposure to oxygen. “When Oskar Blues was established we were the only craft beer brewery canning beer,” said Chad Melis, marketing director for the brewery. “Today there are 256 breweries canning beer.”
According to Melis, “Michigan offers a craft beer community filled with loyal beer lovers. It’s also a state that embraces a variety of hoppy beer styles, which means our selections will fit right in.” Dale’s Pale Ale, Deviant IPA, G’Knight Imperial Red IPA and the new seasonal GUBNA Imperial IPA all represent that hop-forward flavor profile embraced by craft beer fans across the Mitten state.
I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a number of Oskar Blues beers. Consider the following:
- Old Chub Scotch Ale—Pours dark molasses brown with a ridiculously creamy texture, up front malts and caramel. An excellent brew that clocks in at 8% ABV, without overwhelming the drinker with alcohol on the back end.
- G’Knight Imperial Red IPA—Deep amber color, smooth mouthfeel, up front hops and malt with a slight alcohol finish. Great taste, and packs a punch at 8.7% ABV.
- Dale’s Pale Ale—Shades of golden amber, with prominent flavors of toasted grain and malt. Smooth and easy drinking at 6.5% ABV, with some gentle pine and hops. A great food companion.
- Mama’s Little Yella Pils—Light yellow gold, a fine basic pilsner that is food friendly and thirst quenching. At 5.3% ABV, I’ll call it a ‘session beer’, and have another.
Oskar Blues hit the shelves in early March and brewers didn’t hold back. The full line of craft beers are currently available throughout southeast Michigan, and through Powers Distributing in Oakland and Macomb counties. “We felt that Michigan had such strong support of craft beer, our full line-up would be embraced,” added Melis.
Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 as a brewpub and grill, Oskar Blues Brewery launched its craft-brewed beer canning operations in 2002 in Lyons, Colo. Becoming the first American craft brewery to brew and can their beer. Today there are more than 200 craft breweries canning their beers. The original crew used a hand-canning line on a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont packaged 59,000 in 2011 and grew to 85,750 in 2012 while opening an additional brewery in Brevard, NC late in 2012. Oskar Blues brought its beers to Michigan in 2013. Find Oskar Blues on Facebook and Twitter.