There are several reasons why I should love this beer. I love Weizenbocks, they might be my favorite style of beer. I like putting tea in my beer (although I don't like tea on its own, I always find myself adding it to homebrews). I'm also left handed, so I kind of have to like this beer, right? I've heard some really mixed reviews on this TNT Weizenbock from Left Hand so I figured I'd pick up a bottle and spend a few minutes giving it my undivided attention. As I've gotten more adventurous with my drinking I've noticed that the Left Hand beers I had enjoyed previously just weren't holding up to the competition. With TNT Left Hand has gotten more adventurous with their beers, so I'm anxious to see if this is some kind of turning point for a brewery I'd love to see succeed as a first class craft brewer.
My first impressions of Oskar Blues were less than ideal. As a guy who doesn't like overly hopped or bitter beers, it probably isn't the best idea to get acquainted with a brewery by trying their hoppiest and most bitter beer... Well, hindsight is 20/20 and I have since gained more respect for Oskar Blues' beer. I've been holding on to these cans of Gubna for a while now, knowing that an Imperial IPA isn't something I want to jump right in to. After drinking the One Hit Wonder last week I'm anxious to try the Gubna to compare the two and see what all the hype is about with the Gubna.
One Hit Wonder is a limited one time release Imperial IPA from Oskar Blues in Longmont, Colorado. I happened to be in the Longmont area over the weekend when the One Hit Wonder was released and made it back home with a few cans. One of the cans didn't make it all the way home, it was enjoyed back at the hotel in Boulder. My memory of that first can of One Hit Wonder is a little fuzzy, it'd been a long day. I remember it being a very solid IPA, fruity and very resinous. Now that I'm back home and I've got a couple cans all to myself I figured I might as well give this beer my undivided attention.
Avant Peche is a beer I've been waiting a long time to try. Odell first announced this beer about four months ago but up until last week it was only available in Colorado. I happened to be in Boulder last week and picked up a bottle just as the Avant Peche was showing up on shelves back home. What excited me most about the Avant Peche was the style of this beer, it's an Imperial Porter that is barrel aged and blended with peaches. I've had a few peach flavored Wheat beers but never a Porter. This intrigued me because I've really enjoyed the two sour Porters I've had before and I was hoping the Avant Peche would be similar to those beers.
Great Divide's beers appeal to be on several levels, the least of which is flavor. It seems like, for a period of time, I was bringing these beers home from the liquor store and I was often disappointed with how they tasted. There's a lot of like about Great Divide and I really want to keep giving them chances, even if it doesn't always pan out... They've got a great label design, their beers are priced fairly and they're from Denver. Like I said, Great Divide has a lot going for it, unfortunately their beers aren't always on that list. It's not all bad though, there are some bright spots in their line up and those are the beers that keep me coming back to Great Divide.
It seems like all the beer Avery brews are bigger than average. Their IPAs are hoppier, their Stouts are darker and everything in between just has more alcohol in it. Avery has a series of even more extreme beers with alcohol contents pushing 20%. This bottle of Mephistopheles' Stout in part of the demonic series of Avery beers that are sold as individual 12 ounce bottles for $7-9 each. Mephistopheles' Stout is a 16.83% ABV Imperial Stout that looks as evil as it sounds. I'm hoping it is as enjoyable as The Beast Grand Cru I enjoyed from the same series last year.
My first experience with Ten Fidy was... different. Last fall I took a trip out to Denver, Longmont, Fort Collins, etc. I was making my way around north central Colorado, stopping at as many breweries as I could, when it came to my attention that Oskar Blues has a Firkin Friday even each week. Since I was in Longmont and it was Friday, I figured I should at least stop by and see what the big deal was. This week it was a blended barrel of Oskar Blues' Dale's Pale Ale and their Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. Interesting, a Pale Ale blended with an Imperial Stout? Sure, I'll try that at least once...
At one point of another I drank each of Avery's beers at least once. Well, most of their beers at least once. I've even visited their tasting room in Boulder on three different occasions, but somehow there is a year round beer I seem to have over looked. I can't say it was entirely by accident... it's their Barleywine. Barleywines are beers I feel like I should like, but they always leave me a little disappointed to say the least. Hog Heaven is Avery's attempt at a Barleywine and I'm hopeful it is the Barleywine that will sway my opinion of the style.
Old Chub. It just sounds familiar, not to mention hilarious... Oskar Blues is yet another brewery that doesn't distribute to my neck of the woods. I had to make a trip out to Longmont a couple months ago in order to get my hands on their beer. I've heard a lot of good things about Oskar Blues and I was really looking forward to picking up some of their beers. I'd heard a few people say Oskar Blues' beer is pretty pricey so I planned on only picking up a few of their more highly regarded beers. The first Oskar Blues I bought on this trip was a case of Old Chub.
Odell makes good beer. Not many people who argue that point. The most frustrating and disappointing part of Odell's beers are their price point. Great beers aren't cheap to make, just look at the price tags on Dogfish Head and Russian River bottles. Actually, neither Dogfish or Russian River are available every where so not everyone may be aware of this, but it does bring up yet another point... Great beer is in great demand. $20 a bottle isn't unheard for a bottle of wine, in fact it's even considered a bargain in most circles. For beer however, $20 is a steep barrier to entry for most people. Some of Odell's more premium beers top out at $25 for a 750 at my local liquor store. Honestly, that's a little too premium for me. I'd love to try those beers but I can't commit at that price. This bottle of Deconstruction Golden Ale (which is a more modest $12 or $15 depending on your retailer) has just convinced me I need to save up for Odells highest tier of ales.