There are nine craft breweries in Longmont, and it would take me much longer than one afternoon to hit them all (unless I was really ambitious). Since I only had a few hours, it made sense to hit the second largest craft brewer in the state: Oskar Blues Brewery.
Makers of Dale’s Pale Ale and Old Chub, Oskar Blues Brewery started operating as a brewpub in Lyons back in 1997, founded by Dale Katechis. He started brewing beer in the basement in 1999. In 2002, it became one of the first craft brewers to put beer in cans. Now, beer in a can is the main calling card of Oskar Blues, and it has grown into the 27th largest craft brewer in the country.
My friends and I entered the Tasty Weasel Taproom, which overlooks the brewery, and made ourselves comfortable at a table close to the bar. The room is relatively big, with high ceilings, lots of tables, and floor to ceiling windows that open like a garage door during the warmer months. While it was sunny outside, the crisp air kept most people inside, despite the nice patio.
We ordered a flight of their featured beers on tap, which included some seasonal offerings, small-batch varieties and year-round brews. Here’s a quick breakdown of the beers:
Nitro G’Knight: This is the nitrogenated version of the G’Knight strong ale, which falls between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA. I’ve only had the carbonated counterpart once before, but I remember it has a much more hoppy flavor to it. The nitro version creates a malt-heavy flavor profile, but not as heavy as some other nitros I’ve tried. As a fan of stouts, I really enjoyed this beer. Some of my companions, on the other hand, felt it was a little too heavy. Since they tend to lean more towards crisper, fruitier beers, I knew this tasting was going to be all mine (totally fine with that).
Beer Ho: The flavors of this brew are very subtle and it’s probably a beer you could have two or three pints of without feeling too full or tipsy. Despite its craft beer creator, I sensed a similarity to some of the mainstream beers that are much lighter and less flavorful. I was not thrilled with this beer, but one of my friends said he preferred it to all the others. This is the beauty of the beer world, there’s something for every taste.
Droppin Beets: This is a saison/farmhouse ale, infused with beet juice. I was very curious about this beer, as I’m not the biggest fan of beets. My friends took the first sip, and loved the fruity, sweet flavor, and said it was very crisp and refreshing. I agreed with their last assessment, but the flavor just didn’t do it for me. It had a sour note that my tastebuds could not get past. A small taste of this beer was all I needed.
Winter Spiced Ale: One of the seasonal offerings at Oskar Blues, the winter spiced ale takes the full, rich malty taste of Old Chub and adds a hint of warmth and spice. I got hints of caramel and cinnamon as I sipped this beer, and with every taste, I liked it more and more. Of course, I’m a big fan of fall and winter brews, which tend to have a slight sweetness to them, and not too many hops. This beer would not compete at all with the flavor of a molasses cookie—in fact, I think it would complement it well.
Old Juicy Bastard: An American Barleywine, this beer clocks in at a whopping 13.5% alcohol by volume. It’s one of Oskar Blues’ rotating beers, and we were lucky to have it available during our visit. The orange amber beer gave off a fruity and slightly bready scent—I absolutely loved the smell of this beer. There were hints of cherry and a mild spice, and the beer had a warm finish, very easy to drink. That may or not be a bad thing considering the high alcohol content. A pint of this is equivalent to at least two glasses of wine. Sip slowly.
GUBNA Imperial IPA: Another high-alcohol beer, GUBNA is an American Double/Imperial IPA. This beer is a complexity of hops, rye, dark malt, fruit and citrus. My husband said it was far too hoppy for him, and after one sip, he was done. The first sip for me had a citrusy flavor, and I actually enjoyed it. However, the hops really started to overpower after a couple more sips, and I realized it’s a perfect beer for a flight, but I’m not sure I could drink a whole pint.
Ten FIDY Imperial Stout: Generally available in the fall, Ten FIDY is a thick, dark brew loaded with flavor. I was happy we were able to taste it, despite it being early spring. The beer had hints of chocolate and coffee, and the rich malt went down very smooth. My husband enjoyed the smokiness of the beer, but our friends thought the flavor was too strong. Again, dark beers are not their favorite, so it’s understandable that this would not be their cup of tea—or pint of beer, I should say.
This was just a small sampling of Oskar Blues’ beers. The Taproom offers weekly specialty creations, along with year-round and seasonal varieties on tap. If you find something you really like, you can request a Crowler® (Can + Growler) of it to take home and enjoy anytime…until it runs out and you have to go back for more.
While we decided to stay in the tasting room (soaking up the suds, and enjoying some people watching), there is an option to take a tour of the brewery, if you so desire. They are available Monday-Thursday at 4pm, or Friday-Saturday at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm. The next time I’m at Oskar Blues Brewery, I think I’ll take a tour, and try a few more of their many delicious and diverse beers.