At the end of the day or mug or keg, what really draws us to any frothy beverage is the quality of its flavor. Of course, all things being equal, we always prefer beer that is handmade, that honors tradition and that is brewed close to home. But, in addition to all that, there’s another thing that really tickles our fancy, and that’s beer that comes in cans. This explains part of our love for September’s featured brewery, Oskar Blues.
Perhaps it’s the memory of greener days when that’s how we all thought of beer. I suppose I’m dating myself, but once upon a time beer always seemed to come in metal cans with pull top tabs.
Those are long forgotten and reckless days – days when we were still immortal and rode Big Wheels unsupervised, accelerating furiously down the steep inclines of the Little Mountains behind the old home place, always just missing a stretch of ancient and rusty barbed wire fence that marked the end of our course. They were the kind of days that would send me into massive panic should my own young tribe attempt to repeat them today.
They were also days of long, unaccompanied hikes and explorations of forgotten sheds and barns were we would sometimes find a dusty, old skin magazine amid a pile of rusty beer cans. I never drank beer when I was young and tender – I was, at least in the formative years, a slow learner in the ways of the world. But we scoured those cans for treasure. One of our gang, a cousin from up north who visited every summer, collected beer cans, and every time we found something that looked old, we also found value. Who knew, maybe this can was worth some money or would occupy a place of honor in our cousin’s collection?
We were full of optimism then and never daunted by the fact that these old cans were too common and too poorly kept to mean much of anything. But the thought really counted – we could see that at the beginning of summer when we offered our trove to our favorite summer co-conspirator. The way we showed affection when we were boys is really sweet to remember.
So even when beer in cans had lost its place in the cool kid’s corner, we had an enduring passion- even if cans had become aluminum and only contained the kind of beer our friends described as, how do I put it, equine urine.
But that all changed when we met Oskar Blues. This brewery began the modern “beer-in-a-can-craze.” Cans, as they say, “keep beer fresher, longer by eliminating the damaging effects of light and ingressed oxygen while being infinitely recyclable and portable…taking them where your next soul saving adventure takes you.”
And the beer is good, craftsy too. And Oskar Blues has an interesting business model, too. You probably know that while the brewery originated in Longmont, Colorado, it has a satellite location in Brevard, North Carolina and has purchased other breweries in Michigan and Florida,as well as Austin, Texas. Of course, that smacks a little of corporate acquisition, but in an interview with Market Watch, Dale Katechis, founder of the brewery, indicated that Oskar Blues basis for selecting these purchases had nothing to do with typical corporate, ahem, ethic: “…we all sat around and said: ‘Would we be able to travel there and spend our lives in this town?’ And the unanimous answer was ‘yes.’ That’s really how those decisions get made.”
He also said that “From a cultural standpoint, what I believe Oskar Blues is made up of is beer, bikes, food and music, in no particular order. Just things that I find fulfilling about this world. I think we’ve built a pretty interesting culture around here and I think people feel the same.”
Well, that’s enough to make us love these guys in theory. But the fact is that the beer is good, so our buds are satisfied, and it comes in cans so we can sip our tasty adult beverage even as we wander through the memories – and barbed wire – of our reckless youth. That’s sweet in a whole new way.
For September we’ll be featuring Oskar Blues on tap and in cans, including a limited amount of the Passion Fruit Pinner. It’s a happy marriage but limited partnership of Pinner Throwback IPA and the cheery personality of Passion Fruit that you’ll want to get before we run out.
We’ll also have these brews (cheerfully described by the brewery):
“This AmeriCAN take on the Belgian Classic Wit, featuring orange peel and coriander spice emanated from the basement blues music legacy Dave McIntyre (Oskar Blusologist) built at the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons, CO. On draft for over a decade, Priscilla’s zesty citrus and light fresh baked bread aromas mix with spicy, fruity fermentation. Light bodied with a subtle savory spice accent and a dry, lightly tart finish you can nearly feel the flicker of the neon and sounds of the King. White Wit Wheat.”
“…delivers a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from start to finish. America’s first-craft-canned mountain Pale is a hearty, critically acclaimed trailblazer that changed the way craft beer fiends perceive portable beer.”
Mama’s Little Yella Pils
“… an uncompromising, small-batch version of the beer that made Pilsen, Czech Republic, famous. Unlike mass market‚ “pilsners‚” diluted with corn and rice, Mama’s is built with 100% pale malt, German specialty malts, and Saaz hops. While it’s rich with Czeched-out flavor, its gentle hopping makes it a luxurious but low-dose (by Oskar Blues standards) refresher.”
And we may even have a few more, all while supplies last. You better come on in and check…
Cheers! We’ll see you soon.