Beer review: Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
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From the November 8, 2012 edition

About the Brewery:

Oskar Blues Brewery began in 1998 out of the Oskar Blues restaurant in Lyons, Colorado when their first batch of beer was brewed in the restaurant’s basement. Since then, the brewery has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed craft breweries in the country.

In 2002, Oskar Blues became the first craft brewery to can, instead of bottle, their wares with the first being Dale’s Pale Ale. The brewery continued to embrace this ideal over the last decade and all their beers are offered in only cans (and kegs). A number of factors — from environmental consciousness to cans being better at keeping light and air out than bottles to simple portability and a general sense of cheekiness — went in to the choice, but has become Oskar Blues’ calling card. Oskar Blues recently released their line of beers in Ohio.

About the beer:

I was initially skeptical of the craft beer in cans trend because I thought it could manipulate the flavors. But craft breweries are adopting cans more and more, so it can’t be that impactful. According to the Oskar Blues website — and further backed up by their beer — modern cans use a water-based coating that keeps a metallic flavor from seeping through. I’ve had a number of other crafts in cans and haven’t tasted any metal flavoring yet, so my trepidation was clearly misplaced.

The one problem with Dale’s Pale Ale is the name. It doesn’t really taste like a pale ale, more like a traditional IPA. This is only the tiniest of quibbles because even if Dale’s Pale Ale tastes more like an IPA, it’s a solid one.

Dale’s Pale Ale has a bold hoppiness in its aroma that carries through to taste. It’s quickly countered by malts and a hint of citrus sweetness that presents a well-balanced product. If you’ve seen Oskar Blues at your local beer store — the displays I’ve come across are hard to miss — and wondered, “What’s up with this canned beer,” I recommend finding out for yourself. It’s not the greatest beer ever, but it’s definitely worthwhile.