Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review #5 - From Nashville - Oskar Blues Gordon Ale (a.k.a. G'Knight)

Posted by: Stonecipher

Feb. 11, 2011

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the girlfriend and I are in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend.  So far, I have to say, I am fairly impressed with the beer culture down here.  That said, we are primarily hanging out around the Vanderbilt campus and it is fairly reasonable to assume that a more educated crowd is more likely to be into craft beer.

The highlight up to this point has been our stop at the 12 South Taproom which we found on Beer Advocate on the drive down.  I had a good feeling about it after reading just a few reviews and I am so glad we went.  We had an excellent time, were treated like regulars, had some delicious food, listened to some very funky, live blues and most important to the blog…I found Oskar Blues Gordon Ale!  And no, I didn’t just find G’Knight, I found the old Gordon Ale can, which may be pretty tough to find from here on out (more on that in a future post).

The G’Knight/Gordon Ale was previously one of the four that I thought I would for sure have to trade for.  So when I saw it sitting in the cooler at 12 South I was pumped. 

I have to say, I was impressed, and I enjoyed it, but I was not quite as impressed as I thought I would be.  I actually ended up liking the Oskar’s Gubna Double IPA more.  Before the review though, here are some facts about Oskar Blues Gordon Ale:

ABV: 8.7%
IBUs: 60
Brewery Location: Lyons, Colorado
Style: American Double IPA
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.12 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: B+/3.95 – Very Good
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 941/14th
Brewery Description: Oskar Blues Gordon Ale
Bottled On: NA

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) - The picture I took won’t do it much justice, despite being in a fairly well-lit bar, I just couldn’t get that super-premium, quality camera on the iPhone to take a decent picture.  So, if I pick up a sixer or something on the way out of Tennessee, I’ll try to post one.  For now, you can just use your imagination. 

OK, back to the task at hand – the appearance of the Gordon Ale.  As you can see, it did not completely fill up the stemless snifter I was given to pour it into and that gave me the freedom to pour a little more aggressively than normal.  The pour created a gorgeous, clean white head, which rested on top of a deep reddish brown colored beer.  The only problem with the head (and the only reason I did not give OBGA a 5 out of 5 in appearance) was that it did not lead to very much lacing.  Gordon Ale is a very pretty beer.

SMELL: (3.0 out of 5) – The nose was the only category in which the Oskar Blues Gordon Ale did not impress me.  What was detectable was appetizing, but the sweet and malty aromas just did not come through without a lot of effort.  At one point I had my nose so far in the glass that the tip of it got wet. 

TASTE: (4.0 out of 5) – Wow!  The first sip of the Gordon Ale is a malt bomb.  The flavor is certainly what sets this beer apart and makes it one of the most unique that I have tried on The List so far.  I imagine none of the other DIPAs I try for the blog will taste anything like this.  While the malt is the star of the show, and its sweetness remains throughout the entire sip, a little bite of bitterness creeps in towards the end just as the malt is beginning to fade.  The malty flavor sticks around for the aftertaste, but a touch of hoppiness joins it.

MOUTHFEEL: (4.5 out of 5) – I loved the mouthfeel of the Gordon Ale.  It was intensely sparkling and palate scraping, but the sweetness allowed it to be enjoyed throughout the whole can.  In fact, I’m sure I could have had another one and would have been fine.  It was almost as if the sparkle simulated the ripping away of my taste buds, while a contrasting sweet, stickiness worked to keep them all intact.  Overall, it had an amazing mouthfeel.

OVERALL: (4.0 out of 5) – I have had the pleasure of tasting Oskar Blues before, but only once or twice and neither time was it the Gordon Ale.  I have heard a lot about it, but was never able to track it down.  I am very happy I found it at the 12 South Taproom though.  It was a pleasant, unique and very good beer.  Although the beer is not supposed to change at all, I am still really glad I got to try a can before the name changes to G’Knight.  I do have to say though, as much as this beer has been hyped, I was slightly disappointed.  It is good, it is served in a can (maybe the only can on The List), but its brother, Gubna DIPA, also from Oskar Blues, edged it out in almost every category. 

SOUND: Whatever the funky, jazzy blues being played in the 12 South Taproom, that’s what this beer sounded like.  The blues seemed to be the perfect match for drinking Oskar Blues.

DRAWBACKS: The lack of much nose was a turn off to me.  From my experience strong, red ales usually have a very hoppy smell, and since the Gordon Ale highlighted the malt more than the hops, maybe that had something to do with the lack of aroma.  Otherwise, it was a well crafted beer that deserves to be recognized for its uniqueness within the style, but again, it was overhyped.  I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I wasn’t expecting the best beer ever before I tried it.

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