Posts Tagged ‘oskar blues’

Take it to the Brewer: another brewer added/ Oskar Blues is everywhere

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

We are happy to add Scott Cramlet to our list of Brewmasters that we will be recording interviews with this weekend. So far we have:
Nick Campbell – Blue Frog Grog and Grill
Todd Ashman – Fifty Fifty Brewing Co.
Scott Cramlet – Rubicon Brewing Co.

Brian Ford of Auburn Alehouse wrote us back and said he is recovering from surgery and that he may not be able to make it. Hopefully we catch up with him but more importantly, we wish Brian a speedy recovery.
I am waiting on confirmation on one or more interviews.

Other news:
oskar-blues-display1While reporting in some earlier entries that Oskar Blues has been showing up here and there in the East Bay, I am now convinced that they have taken the area by storm. Check the low quality phone pic I took yesterday in Andronico’s…..a full aisle end display of Oskar Blues cans! Not only Gordon, Dale’s, and Old Chub, but Mama’s Little Yella Pils as well. What about the Ten Fidy?!?
I’m happy about this, trust me. I just couldn’t help to think how much I would love to see more local breweries with beer in cans. I know there are a lot of logistics and cost involved with this and I know many are thinking about it. Along with 21st Ammendment’s Hell or High Water Wheat and Brew Free or Die IPA (both excellent beers) and Ukiah Brewing’s small scale canning of their pilsner (available in Ukiah only as far as I know) we need more cans!
Oh and hey David Jenson (, I did get back to Gordon after my cold. Boy was I stuffed up. I reported that I smelled nothing but admitted to having a cold. I’d have to say that Gordon is now my favorite out of the Oskar lineup. Great hop aroma that carries through in to the taste. Big malt and mouthfeel to back it up. Well balanced. Hop aroma has some interesting qualities to it but the site says it is all amarillo dry hopped. They do mention a resiny aroma…hmmmm. All good as far as I go. I’ll be drinking more soon!

turns out Oskar Blues cans are out there

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
oskar blues cans

these beauties are local and waiting for you to pop their top!

Somtimes I get out of the loop on things. I guess it happens when you are a parent. The last thing I heard about Oskar Blues being on the west coast was from Bill Brand (RIP) a couple/few months back when he mentioned that they were now distributing to Sacramento County. Well I don’t have the news that says what changed since then and why  it is in Alameda County but I suppose it doesn’t matter. We have it. I guess the deal went out beyond Sacramento.
I received emails and a comment below that Oskar Blues cans are out there. Comment from Brian:
“just had an Oskar Blues Gordon Ale…good stuff and beer of the month selection at Plumb Jack in San Francisco.”
The same source told me that he has also seen them at Star Market in Oakland.

From an email that was sent to me:
“Also the liquor store closest to my house Lincoln Square liquors has recently changed management. He’s now selling Ol’ Chub and their pale ale. Which I bought for the super bowl and was fantastic.”
Lincoln Square I believe is located off of Highway 13 at Redwood Rd. ….on the east side of the freeway is the shopping area.

And then there was my experience listed in the entry right below. On top of that, I visited Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley (first time in a while) and they had all three flavors of Oskar Blues in the can. I purchased what I could.

My quick notes:
Dale’s Pale Ale – A bold pale ale with a hop and stong malt aroma. The malt didn’t carry into the taste or perhaps was overtaken by the assertive hop bitterness that carries thorugh into the aftertaste. Drinkable and great for hop heads.
Old Chub – My favorite so far. My first can was great and I enjoyed all of its malt bomb glory from aroma to aftertaste. My second can (on a later date), I caught a lot of fruity esters and thought I was drinking a Belgian for a second. Hmmmm. My third can Brought me back to Scotch ale land as I started to detect some soil/earthiness to the taste telling that yes this is a scotch ale. Really looking forward to a fourth can so that I can either reaffirm any of the above or come up with some new tastes…whatever, I will be trying it again.
Gordon – what can you say to a 8.7 ABV beer that is in the can? Hell yeah. I didn’t get a lot out of this beer aroma or taste-wise (my assumption was that there would be a lot given the ABV). To be honest, I had a cold and I needed a night cap. I look forward to trying this one again so that I can give it a fair review.

Overall, very happy to see more beers available in cans!

don’t forget your semi-local liquor store….

Friday, March 20th, 2009

liquor store

So let’s spend a couple minutes going over the types of stores that carry beer. I am going to talk about the east bay in particular but I’m sure there are similarities in other places.
When you look for good craft beer, the two types of stores that leap out are boutique grocery stores (Whole Foods, Andronicos, etc) and Bevmo. All have good selection, sometimes something new and styles that will appeal to your taste that day. There are also the known good liquor stores that stand out: Ledgers Liquors in the the east bay is a great bottle shop with a wide selection of American craft and import, including a good selection of Begian and German beers. At Ledgers, you will also find beers that are no where else in the East Bay, like Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, Russian River. The Contra Costa equivalent to Ledgers is of course Monument Liquors which some of my 925 friends had renamed the “beer mecca”.

Now let’s start talking about lesser known spots. Now we are getting to liquor stores that, similar to Ledgers and Monument, are not in gentrified areas of town. Mainly tranisitional neighborhoods that have stores run by contemporary US immigrants and they probably have baseball bats behind the counter. The first one to mention is Alcatel Liquors on Telegraph Ave. just south of Alcatraz Ave. The store doesn’t look like it offers too much in the way of craft beer….their are your standard cigarette and malt liquor propaganda ads on the wall and the owners are looking at you in a way that lets you know they are assessing your threat level. Low and behold, you go to the beer fridges and not only do you have 22oz Bombers, but corked and caged 750s of both US and Belgian ales. Along side these are a satisfying amount of craft six packs….a surprising amount given your first impression of the store. There are beers here that you won’t find at the up the street College Ave liquors. Which is also a good store and services the UC berkeley college kids for kegs and local folks as well.   

oskar blues old chubSo maybe you already know all this (or hell, maybe it was helpful). My point is if you, like me, are already armed with this information then perhaps when you pass a liquor store it is worth taking a look inside. I did this just the other day at a store located on San Pablo Ave in El Cerrito (across from the pasttime hardware store).  I was sized up as I walked in and I returned an honest nod of hello. I went immediately to the fridges in back to check things out. Excellent, they had a few doors devoted to craft beer sixers and bombers. But wait, I’ll make a long story short, not only did I find two beers that I had not seen yet (cerntainly not at bevmo) but one beer that I didn’t even know had made it to our county. That beer is Old Chub by Oskar Blues. I knew they started distribution in Sacramento county a couple months ago but what the hell? I excitedly asked the counter guy about the beer and gave him a very quick littany about distribution of the beer. His reponse was only slightly better that “take your beer a go!”. I’m still in shock by what I found here.

anderson valley chau tienThe other two beers? Spaten Dunkel and Chau Tien by Anderson Valley. Spaten Dunkel is nothing new but I have never seen it at any other store. Spaten Premium Pils is everywhere of course. Looking forward to trying this one but I’m not expecting much. I don’t have alot of hope that it will stack well against Ayinger’s Dunkel. Cool to find it though. The Chau Tien was surprising. I had no idea this beer was out there and for all I know I just ended up at this store on the right day. It certainly could be available other places right now. So, here I was looking at bombers and my first thought about Chau Tien was “wow, a brewery in Asia  is doing a pale ale and getting it in the states”. That went to me thinking that Fal Allen (former Anderson Valley brewer, now brewing in Singapore) had something to do with it. Then I just grabbed the bottle and looked at it. I could have the story all wrong but a brewer from Sierra Nevada carried a Pale Ale recipe with him from there to Anderson Valley and brewed it there. More research here is in order. The bottle itself is very well done and you would have no idea this is an Anderson Valley beer (click on the photo and check it out)

spaten dunkelMore and more corner liquors stores are carrying craft beer in the east bay. It is worth pulling over at any one of these shops and having a look. Most of these hidden jewels of stores seem to be in transitional areas of town (still a little rough but potentially headed to gentrification one day). I don’t think you are going to find any of these beers in the dogtown area of west oakland (unless Nate can prove me wrong) but it is great to know that there are even more options these days as demand grows. As Easter gets close it is nice to point out the easter egg hunt aspect of this. Some people may like pulling over at garage sales for perhaps that one special item that could be there. Craft beer lovers in the east bay can now pull over at any corner store and see what cool beers they come up with.