beer tour

Oskar Blues\' new Old Chub Nitro Scotch Ale
Courtesy of Oskar Blues


West Flanders is throwing down some new brews for March Madness and local causes.

Catch the last two oak-aged single keg beers created to celebrate March Madness. On March 27, they’re cracking open an oak-soaked Canniption Pale Ale, and on April 3, sticky hops and all-American oak come together for the release of Third Kingdom IPA. The beers are available after 5 p.m., but time is of the essence because there is only one keg brewed of each.

Also on April 3, West Flanders will be releasing their Saison Locale, a pale ale a bit more on the amber side. West Flanders collaborated with the non-profit organization Local Food Shift, which promotes food localization, to create the beer for their promotional event, which will run from 4-7 p.m. Down to the yeast, Saison Locale was made using all Colorado products. It should be available for another three or four weeks after the release, depending on how fast the 300 gallons they brewed gets guzzled down.

Sticker Giant, a custom sticker producer out of Longmont, will be cohosting the release event. Fifty cents from every Saison Locale sold will go to Local Food Shift, with a matching donation by Sticker Giant. Special appetizers, featuring local products, will be available for the event as well.


Oskar Blues is debuting the first ever American-made nitro craft beer in a can, called Old Chub Nitro Scotch Ale, during the upcoming Craft Brewers Conference in Denver on April 8.

According to marketing director Chad Melis, Oskar Blues has a history of implementing nitro into their draft beers, but in 2010, with the leadership of Juice Drapeau, head brewer, they created a specific program dedicated to achieving the next step in American craft brewing infused with nitro.

Oskar Blues chose to can and nitrogenize their Old Chub beer because the nitro really compliments this malty and complex beer. Melis says the nitro allows the drinker to experience these aspects with more depth and intensifies the flavors of the scotch ale.

Jeremy Rudolf, production manager for Oskar Blues, worked closely with Ball Corporation, a metal and plastic packaging supplier, to achieve the quality pour Oskar Blues was seeking. Rudolf went with a widget technology originally used by Guinness, where the nitro widget on the bottom of the can is filled with liquid nitrogen. Once the can is opened, the widget releases the nitrogen inside it, allowing for a cascading pour and the desired creamy smooth consistency.


Speaking of nitro beers, Left Hand Brewing in Longmont has been trying to trademark the word ‘Nitro’ and ‘Milk Stout Nitro’ since it released its Milk Stout Nitro in 2012. After a denial to their challenge to Steamworks Brewery’s claim on nitro and a settlement out of court, Left Hand Brewing applied again in September and then was finally awarded the patent in February.

However, Left Hand Brewing’s patent claim over nitro usage caused three larger breweries, Boston Beer Corp., Diageo and Anheuser Busch, to file motions with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to contest the claim.

Left Hand tried to set the record straight in a blog post on March 20, clarifying that they don’t want to stop other brewing companies from nitrogenizing their beers, just to protect the nitro brand name.

“We believe another beer named simply, ‘Nitro’ or ‘Milk Stout Nitro,’ would confuse the public and dilute the strength of the brand we have worked so hard to build,” states Left Hand Brewing’s blog post.

According to the blog, they will not be pursuing any action against Oskar Blues, who also stamps their new canned brew with nitro; instead, they expressed only congratulatory sentiments for Oskar Blue’s canned nitro beer accomplishment.