Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Just a quick note on Gordon from Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado. Soggy Coaster picked up a four-pack from Star Liquors yesterday for $8.59.
This brings up a few ruminations:
1. Goddamn, beer is getting expensive. Granted, Gordon (8.7 percent ABV, 85 IBUs) is an "extreme" beer, high in alcohol and probably expensive to brew. Still, $8.59 for four 12-ounce cans is quite a bit.
2. Price points. To keep high-quality beers like Gordon price competitive with the average microbrew six-pack, brewers are increasingly packaging their high-end beers in four packs. Dogfish Head also does this quite a bit.
3. Cans. Oskar Blues was the first microbrewery to can beer, starting with its better-known Dale's Pale Ale. Ska decided to can its new Modus Hoperandi IPA and continues to can its ESB. Steamworks cans Third Eye Pale Ale and Steam Engine Lager. This presents the consumer with a choice: cans or bottles?
Soggy Coaster prefers bottles, except for outdoor activities. There seems to be no appreciable difference in taste or quality of canned vs. bottled beer. Rather, Soggy Coaster chooses bottles for environmental reasons. In short, glass bottles are relatively friendly to the environment. Bauxite for aluminum cans has to be mined out of the earth, and mining is about the least environmentally friendly activity on the planet.
4. Big red freshness. Brewers are getting some really interesting flavors out of red ales these days. Oskar Blues describes Gordon as "somewhere between an imperial red and a double IPA." Big red ales can be really, really good. Given the fact that Pinstripe Red Ale, Gordon, Deschutes' Cinder Cone and Stone Levitation can all be considered red ales, there is an astonishing variety of taste there.
5. Gordon is pretty tasty. It's like a super-hoppy red. It's got the resiny feel of an IPA, but without the bitterness.