Oskar Blues Heads North
The highly acclaimed canned craft beers from Oskar Blues Brewery — Dale’s Pale Ale, Old Chub Scottish Style Ale and Gordon — are now appearing on store shelves in Northern California.
“We’re bringing canned joy to another big chunk of one of the nation’s best beer states,” says Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis. “There’s a huge population of serious beer drinkers and outdoor adventurers there,” Katechis adds, “both of those groups will appreciate our gloriously flavorful and highly portable beers.”
Saccani Distributing is handling Oskar Blues beers in the Northern California area. They will distribute the beers throughout a 21-county area that stretches from Sacramento east to Lake Tahoe, and north to the California state line. Saccani’s Justin Seybold expects the Oskar Blues beers to be a big hit. “These are some of the best beers I’ve ever tasted,” Seybold says. “The fact that people can easily take them into the outdoors makes them even more special.” “Plus,” Seybold adds, “California is getting greener all the time. Consumers and retailers here love the recyclability of the can and the photodegradable sixpack rings for the beers.” Retailers interested in carrying Oskar Blues beers can contact Meg Gill, the Northern California “Beerstress” for Oskar Blues Brewery, at 804-683-1745. Gill is conducting a number of Oskar Blues events in the region over the next few weeks.
In November of 2002, tiny Oskar Blues Brewery launched its “Canned Beer Apocalypse” and became the first US craft brewer to brew and can its own beer. The brewery began hand-canning its hoppy Dale’s Pale Ale on a table-top machine that sealed one can at a time. “We thought the idea of our big, hoppy pale ale in a can was hilarious,” Katechis recalls, “and it made our beer more portable for our fans who have fun outdoors.” Katechis soon discovered other benefits to cans. “Cans deliver the freshest beer possible by fully protecting it from light and oxygen. They’re good for beer.” The modern-day aluminum can is lined with a water-based coating so beer and the can never touch. “It’s a myth that cans impart metallic flavors,” Katechis says. Cans also have many environmental benefits. ”They‘re the most recycled beverage container and they’re infinitely recyclable,” Katechis says. “Because of their light weight, cans are less fuel-consuming to ship and allow us to shrink our carbon footprint for out-of-state beer by about 40%.” The company’s assertive-but-elegant canned beers have helped Oskar Blues achieve some of the craft beer industry’s biggest growth. Prior to canning, Oskar Blues produced 700 barrels of beer. In 2007 it produced 12,409 barrels, up from 8,129 in 2006. It expects to craft over 20,000 barrels in 2008.
The company’s flagship, Dale’s Pale Ale, is a robust American pale ale with 6.5% ABV and 65 International Bittering Units. Its honors include Top American Pale Ale from the New York Times, Top Colorado-Brewed Beer from the Rocky Mountain News, and World’s Best Canned Beer from Details. Old Chub Scottish Style Ale is a semi-sweet Scotch strong ale (8% ABV) brewed with ridiculous amounts of malts. Old Chub has won rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Celebrator Beer News, Alestreet News and consumer reviewers at Beeradvocate.com and Ratebeer.com. Gordon (8.7% ABV, 85 IBUs) is a double/imperial red ale made with six malts, three hops, and a massive dry-hop addition. It is brewed in honor of Gordon Knight, a Colorado craft beer pioneer who died fighting a wild fire outside of Lyons in 2002. It has earned glowing reviews from numerous publications and recently won a bronze medal in the 2008 World Beer Cup.
Oskar Blues is now brewing and packaging its canned beers in a new 35,000- square-feet brewery in Longmont, Colorado, just east of Lyons. The brewery’s annual capacity is 30,000 barrels. The Lyons brewery will continue to make beer for the company’s brewpub. Oskar Blues Brewery’s beers are available in 22 states.