This is part of a Beerventure Series from Steph’s April 2014 trip to Asheville, North Carolina. See the rest of the series here.
During our time in Asheville, the weather was beautiful. Well, except for one day. We had planned on spending the day outdoors, hiking and exploring parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the rain began to fall Saturday morning and had no desire to stop. Solution to this soggy problem? Go to another brewery!
Oskar Blues Brewery, based in Lyons, Colorado, was founded by Dick Dale Katechis in 1997. Oskar Blues is credited with being the “first released canned craft beer in the United States” with the release of Dale’s Pale Ale in November 2002. In 2012 they began using resealable aluminum containers for craft beer. They are the largest brewery in the United States that does not use glass bottles.
In 2012 they expanded their operations and opened a satellite brewery in Brevard, North Carolina, which has the capacity to brew up to 120,000 barrels. The east coast location is an easy 30 minute drive from downtown Asheville. The brewery is open for tours.
As soon as we arrived, we headed upstairs to the Tasty Weasel Taproom via the arch of beer cans, bypassing the nifty outdoor seating area decorated with Oskar Blues cans and stars hanging from the ceiling. The taproom offers views of the brewing area and includes a bar, a seating area, and a small gift shop.
We shared a flight of Oskar Blues beers which included their year round offers, seasonals, and a specialty release. The flight included 4 ounce samples of all 7 beers on tap for $9.
- Mama’s Little Yella Pils – a small-batch 5.3% ABV, 35 IBU pilsner made with pale malt, German specialty malts, and traditional (Saaz) and 21st century Bavarian hops; fermented at cool temperatures with a German yeast.
- Dale’s Pale Ale – their first beer; a 6.5% ABV, 65 IBU beer somewhere between an American pale ale and an IPA brewed with European malts and American hops. In 2005, the New York Times named Dale’s Pale Ale the best “Pale Ale.”
- G’Knight – an 8.7% ABV, 60 IBU hybrid of a strong ale, somewhere between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA made with six different malts and three types of hops, then dry-hopped it with Amarillo hops. This is one of my personal favorite Oskar Blues beers.
- Deviant Dale’s – an 8% ABV, 85 IBUs ale with intense aromas and flavors of citrus, grapefruit rind and piney resins; brewed with untold amounts of malt and Columbus dry-hopping. This beer is also the brewery’s first 16-ounce tallboy can.
- GUBNA – a 10% ABV, 100 IBU Imperial IPA made with 3 malts and Summit hops.
- Ten FIDY – a 10% ABV, 98 IBU imperial stout with flavors of chocolate, malt, coffee, cocoa and oats; made with two-row malts, chocolate malts, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops.
- White Buffalo West Coast IPA – a sessionable, easy drinking west coast IPA brewed in collaboration with musician Jake Smith, AKA The White Buffalo. This was the current specialty offering at the taproom.
Old Chub was also available on nitro for $5 a glass. A firkin of Mama’s with ginger and cayenne was also pouring for $5 a glass.
After enjoying the sampler and chowing down on some free peanuts, an announcement was made to gather for the next tour of the brewery. It was at this moment that I noticed the beer fridge. Located next to the bar, the fridge has six packs and single cans of the well-known Oskar Blues brews, but there were also cans I had never seen before.
The first can that caught my attention was Fat Slim, a collaboration beer with La Cumbre Brewing Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My brother brought home cans of La Cumbre beers including A Slice of Hefen and Elevated IPA, two seriously kick ass beers. When I saw Fat Slim, I knew I had to try this one. I quickly paid for the can, opened it, and headed downstairs for the tour.
Fat Slim did not disappoint. This 5.5% ABV, 55 IBU beer is brewed with a rare North American barley called the “Full Pint” and hops from South Africa and New Zealand. The beer was very crisp with a light malt body and an aroma of lychee, white pepper, juicy tangerine, and a hint of agave nectar.
(The refrigerator also included boxes of hop pellets and 3 mysterious barrels filled with beer. Rudy said these would eventually be on tap in the taproom.)
Before leaving, I picked up two more cans to go. The first, Saint Oskar’s Indica Black Lager, is a collaboration with Saint Archer Brewing Company, is a 7.45% ABV, 90 IBU India Black Lager dry-hopped with experimental hop HBC 366.
The other can, 2014 CBC Centennial State Pale Ale, was brewed to commemorate the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America in Denver, Colorado on April 8 to 11, 2014. Brewed and canned by Oskar Blues, this 5.280% ABV American Pale Ale was a collaboration effort from all Craft Brewers Guild member breweries made from 100% Colorado malts, hops, yeast, and water.
Next time you find yourself in Asheville, NC, definitely take the time to drive down to Oskar Blues. The brewery and taproom have a great vibe, and you’ll be able to taste some interesting collaboration beers, or perhaps something tasty from a firkin or barrel.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For further reading, please refer to this link.
342 Mountain Industrial Dr. | Brevard, NC