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Thursday, March 28,2013

At Longmont's Oskar Blues, a malty mea culpa

Asking forgiveness of the kings of canning

By Steve Weishampel
Photo by Joel Dyer

I’d like to apologize.

I’ve been inspired by Greg Mitchell, media critic and columnist for The Nation, who recently wrote an analysis for The Washington Post ripping that publication and many other media outlets for failing to criticize the war in Iraq and failing, even 10 years later, to admit they shared blame for the war.

The Post pulled Mitchell’s story and ran one much nicer to the media, but I’ve still been inspired to offer my own apology for failing on my own beat.

I am sorry for not liking Oskar Blues. I am sorry to you, the reader, and to the beer itself.

To Oskar Blues: I am sorry. I am sorry I didn’t recognize how awesome your beer is. I extend my apologies to Oskar and to the rest of the Blues family, and to all of their vaguely Southern, vaguely biker-themed kin.

I’m sorry that I ever referred to your beer as “hop-water,” not that I ever did, but if I did. You do a lot more than hop-water.

I’m sorry I thought Old Chub Scottish strong ale was an aberration and Ten Fidy stout was an accident.

I’m sorry that I hadn’t had Dale’s Pale for years before we came by on March 22. I don’t like pale ales, and still don’t, but I’m sorry anyway.

I apologize, and I was wrong, and I’m asking your forgiveness. And also that you make more barrel-aged Old Chub. And actually I’d take that over forgiveness.

As the snow came down, we made a journey from South Boulder to Lyons and then to Longmont, covering two of Oskar Blues’ three locations. At Lyons’ Grill & Brew we couldn’t turn down the 10-taster tray with one of everything, including three specials: a wheat, a brown and an Irish red. The specials were, outside of maybe the imperial stout Ten Fidy, the maltiest and least hoppy beers available. Is Oskar Blues making an effort to round out the county’s hoppiest beer list? Did they prepare for me because they knew I was coming? Maybe and no, respectively.

Of course, all the Oskar Blues favorites were there, including Deviant Dale’s Imperial IPA and Gubna … umm … also Imperial IPA. OK, so the sky’s blue, the pope’s Catholic and hops are still the star for OB.

But I’ve left the best for last: Old Chub, aged in whiskey barrels, was one of the specials at Tasty Weasel, housed in the Longmont brewery. It’s off tap now, so it would just be cruel to tell you too much. It blew me away. I can only recommend that everyone call Tasty Weasel with reasonable frequency — say, once every 20 minutes — asking them to put it back on tap.

I’m not a disciple or anything. I won’t be grabbing Deviant Dale’s next time I hit the liquor store. But I hope, over time, I can atone for the errors of my ways.

And again, if not, I’d gladly settle for more of that barrel-aged Old Chub.

Next stops: Pumphouse Brewery, 540 Main St., Longmont, 4 p.m. March 28; Redstone Meadery, 4700 Pearl St. #2A, Boulder, 4 p.m. April 4. Members of the public are welcome.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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