The long bar at Oskar Blues’ Tasty Weasel Taproom in Longmont was quiet and cool when I walked inside, like an old western saloon.
Which, was perfect on a busy summer day like the one outside. It was hot and bustling out there. It was a Wednesday and everyone seemed like they had somewhere to be: cutting one another off in traffic, speeding furiously to slip through yellow lights, shouldering past one another as they moved in and out of businesses.
But the atmosphere in Oskar Blues was peaceful and laid back. Sweet Home Alabama was playing over the speakers. The bartender nodded at me.
“What’re you drinking, man?”
“What’s your favorite in-house brew?”
He paused, and then pointed to a tap that said Bwahaha. “This one’s a double IPA dry hopped with El Dorado hops.”
Bwahaha can only be purchased at the brewery, he tells me. It’s not in stores.
“Bwahaha it is.”
Image courtesy of Oskar Blues Brewery
The fine folks at Oskar Blues are a bunch of trend setters. They’ve been brewing beer since 2002 and they were, in fact, the first craft brewery to cram their high-powered hop concoctions into aluminum cans (hence the name of their annual Lyons craft beer festival, “Burning Can Festival”).
It sparked a movement. Not only did people realize that canned craft beer was better protected from UV rays; not only did people realize that cans actually help keep beer fresher for longer, but people realized that suddenly they had craft beer that they could take out on the river, up into the mountains, out on the crags and deep into slot canyons, easily.
Packing good beer in and out of the wilderness had never been so easy.
Today, you see canned beers coming out of just about every brewery in the country. Everyone’s on the canarchy train. All thanks to the geniuses at Oskar Blues, who saw an opportunity to break with convention, and seized it.
Suffice-it-to-say, they’ve grown since 2002. And their beers have been getting better all along.
Case and point: Bwahaha, their fresh new imperial IPA. It’s a beer that delivers. It lobs a big juicy punch on the nose, has a golden color and a bitter hoppy bite off the back end. It’s a solid double-IPA; it’s fresh, it’s refreshing and it’s limited. There’s no buying this stuff at the liquor store, so don’t even go looking for it. If you want a taste of Bwahaha you gotta’ make a pilgramige to the taproom.
Which is not so difficult. Oskar Blues now has locations across Colorado’s Front Range (in Boulder, Longmont, Lyons and Denver) where you can pop in and taste whatever’s new. And, at all those locations, they also serve a lot of really bomb food that pairs well with the beer they brew.
I tried the Check Yo’Self for round two (also at the bartender, Jeremy’s, suggestion).
“If you like IPA’s I got you all day.” Jeremy tells me, chuckling.
Check Yo’Self is a true New England IPA, or NEIPA (aka a hazy IPA). Whatever you call it; it’s a golden, foggy beer that has a bright and juicy flavor. It’s an awesome summer beer, and, sadly, another one that you won’t find in the liquor stores.
Between Bwahaha and Check Yo’Self there’s two good reasons to stop in and visit one of the Oskar Blues taprooms. There’s no knowing how long they’ll be on tap, but even if they aren’t, the staff will have something tasty for you to try.
Image courtesy of Oskar Blues Brewery.
I checked myself after that second beer — I could have easily stayed all day and just continued on down the long line of taps they’ve got back there behind the bar, tasting one after the next at Jeremy’s behest…
However, my wiser instincts got the better of me and I peeled out after paying for those first two brews. There would always be a "next time."