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Wednesday, December 12th 2012

oSKAr the GRauch Smoked IPA
(Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing)

How do two of Colorado's most well-respected breweries both celebrate ten years of canning their beer? Brew an amazing beer together, can it, and then throw a big party! That's what Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing did a few weeks back. The beer they brewed, which was aptly named oSKAr the G'Rauch, is a big, hoppy, smoked IPA and was packaged in both 16 and 19.2 oz. cans. Check out the label art, who doesn't love a skeleton-faced monkey riding a bike? Happy CANniversary!

From Oskar Blues:

"What did oSKAr the G’Rauch say to the face? Slap! Aromas of freshly-peeled orange and apricots with a touch of……..smoke? Juicy citrus and fruit flavors dominate but don’t overpower the slightly sweet malt structure. Finish is all citrus rind ping-ponging with some smoky phenols. 8.5% ABV. MANY IBU."

Here we go...

Pour – deep golden in color with a very clean appearance and a big, thick, fluffy white head that sits gloriously on top. This looks very, very good.

Aroma – plenty of smokiness hitting the nose right away with some sweet smelling tropical fruit aroma in the background. Love that smokey aroma, wow. This smells pretty much what you might expect a smoked IPA to smell like. Sort of like someone took a bag of fresh hops and threw them in a smokehouse for awhile. The hop aroma is there but it is certainly tinged by the smokiness from the malt.

Taste – wow. Really. This is an impressive beer. The smokiness is not overpowering on the palate but it also sitting idly by while the hops take over. Nope, this is definitely telling you that there is plenty of smoked malt in there to balance out the El Dorado hops that are also assualting the sense with big sweet orange and pineapple flavors. Somehow it all comes together nicely and the tastebuds are rejoicing after each sip and continue to do so as the smokiness and the hoppiness linger happily side by side.

Overall - very impressive beer. One can only imagine that with a beer like this it would be easy to have things go wrong. A little too much smoked malt and this turns into something completely different. Too many hops and this becomes too bitter and unbalanced. We're glad to see two of our favorite breweries come together after so many years and brew something so original...and so delicious. CANgrats!

Note - Smoked IPAs are a relatively new, and still unrecognized, "style". Very few have been done at a production level. One of the only others we know of was Golden Road Brewing Company's Burning Bush Smoked IPA, which was the second release in their Custom IPA series. Perhaps we'll see more of them, who knows. We sure hope so!

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oSKAr the G'Rauch
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
Longmont, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: El Dorado
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: December 12th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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