Oskar Blues, Gubna Imperial IPA

Grade: A
Oskar Blues Brewing Co.

Now, I know what you're going to say. You're saying "oh look, he's reviewing another imperial IPA, how original." This ones different. I think. I hope. Well, for 4 bucks a can, it had damn well better be. Actually scratch that; if this beer actually is good, then I'm going to go broke trying to drink it. Seems like a lose/lose either way, but I'm going to soldier on. Why? Because I do this for all of you. That, at least, is what I tell myself.

Very clear, very light, and very deceiving. The unwary drinker might mistake this for a Budweiser sitting on the bar. As soon as they got a whiff of it however, would instantly realize this is nothing of the sort. Very dank, herbal nose, with grass, pine, resin, some skunk, citrus, grapefruit, and peach. There's no mistaking this aroma, hops are the first and last thing on the menu. There are some malt notes in there as well, some alcohol hints, but not much can be detected beyond the hops.

The mouthfeel is on the medium heavy side, creamy but not viscous. Fruit flavors from the hops blend with bitterness and resin. I can certainly taste the tropical fruit from some of the hops used, grapefruit and peach being some of the major flavor notes. The bitterness is there, lingering in the aftertaste with some bite from carbonation, but not much. Overall this beer is reserved on the bubbles, which allows you to taste those wonderful hop flavors that so often are scrubbed away. The malts are there, some sweetness is present, but I feel like it's the "false sweetness" you sometimes get from ridiculously hopped beers. It reads kind of like a candy sweet, but in reality it's simply the hop resins in such amazing concentration.

Dammit. I like it. I have to say that in a world saturated by IPAs in all of their various forms, this one stands out. This beer's strength lies in the freshness of the hops, the light, tropical fruitiness that they imbue into the beer combined with a malt profile that delivers the mouthfeel and the alcohol content, without getting in the way at all. This may be a 10% ABV beer, but you wouldn't know it at all. Until you had a few and stood up. Another reason why this beer rates so highly, is the fact that it's drinkable. Personally, I could sit down with a few of these and wile away an afternoon. I wouldn't call it session-able by any means, but it doesn't assault you with overwhelming bitterness, sweetness, or alcohol, which can fatigue the palate in no time. Instead we get to bask in the glory of the hop, masterfully rendered in this dangerously drinkable beer. My one and only qualm with this beer is the price. The difference between an A and an A+ is how many clams I have to shell out for it. I suppose greatness must be paid for, but I still think it's a bit excessive. Guess I have to get a second job...


Beth said...

I love this beer too, and I also wish it were cheaper. I'm pretty sure G'knight (formerly Gordon) and Ten Fidy aren't as expensive; I don't get it.

Mike R Lynch said...

I wish, I just saw a 4 pack of Ten Fidy for $17. Seems like Gubna and Ten Fidy are their most expensive, the others in the brand aren't quite as bad. Thanks for the comment!