Oskar Blues and Founders at Henry Street Taproom

 Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Mama's Little Yellow Pils
The events at Saratoga Beer Week have been pretty hit or miss. Some are just bar crawls with no actual beer specials, some serve readily available beers but you get to take the glass home, some feature shelf Vermont beers and somehow try to make an event out of it, some center around truly awful Olde Saratoga beer. The entire week is definitely promotion driven with a lot of fluff and BS. However, Pig Destroyer Jon and I did want to get up there for at least an event or two to show our support for the beers we love and support for events that we think are actually worth attending. Without at doubt, Henry Street Taproom definitely has the most interesting events going on for the week.

Knowing that Remarkable Liquids was tapping a bunch of great kegs there on Tuesday night and Oskar Blues was going to tap a keg of Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Mama’s Little Yellow Pils last night, it was a no brainer to go and get the best offerings from both nights. To my surprise, there was a last minute change to the lineup and the Founders Rep was also in the house, providing arguably the best best tap list in all of Saratoga that night, possibly the Capital Region.
Henry Street Taproom Tap List 2/20/13
It was nice to hear that the OB barrels at Henry Street were slated to appear at Night of the Barrels, again lessening the blow of not being able to attend the rescheduled event in March (in additional to getting a growler of Night Shift’s NotB offering, Snow, this past weekend). The wine barrel-aged Pils was the main reason why I was there, so I found an open spot at the bar and immediately ordered a pint, much to the surprise of the bartender, given its $12 price. Yes it was steep, but when else was I going to get a chance to try this?

Founders All Day IPA

Things were a little fuzzy at this point.

Its appearance did not vary much from traditional Mama’s Little Yellow, but the white grape in the nose was evident. On first sip, the wine barrel dominates the taste with a slow transition and follow up of malt and hops in the backend. It’s sweet wine at first with a bit of tang before the moving on the tradition pils experience. This is delicious and extremely balanced, and what I imagine when I think of the wine hybrids that Sam Calagione attempts and instead produces absolute train wrecks. Seek this brew out, if you can.
Oskar Blues Chaka
The next beer was Oskar Blues Chaka, a collaboration with Sun King I’ve had my eyes on for a while but have yet to get my hands on (it’s in a unique resealable Alumi-Tek Bottle if you ever seen one). This is a very big (8%) sweet Belgian Pale Ale, one that I don’t think that has been brewed in a while so I imagine any hops in this beer have been long gone. It was tasty enough, but for the style it was too malty and sweet. I’m interested in trying this again when it’s brewed fresh.

The next beer was Founders All Day IPA “Definitely Not ‘All Day IPA'” IPA. I hold all sessionable IPAs to the standard of Lawson’s Finest Liquids Three Penny Especiale, and while the 4.7% ABV Not All Day IPA was tasty and extremely chuggable, I could have used some more hop flavor (but there aren’t many IPAs I haven’t said that about).
Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
We rounded out the night by splitting a couple of glasses of both the 2010 Oskar Blues Ten Fidy and the Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti break, both outstanding Imperial Stouts, and the Biscotti the first time I’ve seen this tapped in the area.

If your looking for something above the status quo to do for Saratoga Beer Week, Henry Street is absolutely your best bet. And one of my biggest complaints in my last stops, the “Cold as the Rockies” serving temperature of their beer, seems to have been fixed. As these beers kick (and surely they will soon) they’ll be replaced with some great beers from Sixpoint for their cheese pairing today with R&G cheese and some even better Brett beers tomorrow with Jeremy Irving from Remarkable Liquids. Check them out!

Troy, NY: Oskar Blues Night at The Ruck

My response to the event invite on FB pretty much sums up how I feel about OB:

Oskar Blues was one of the first breweries I became a huge fan boy over. I loved the way they basically gave a big “eff you” to all of the craft beer snobs out there that said good beer doesn’t come in cans. Now look at all of the breweries doing craft cans. Here’s a few:

  • 21st Amendment
  • The Alchemist
  • Avery
  • Brooklyn
  • Cigar City
  • DC Brau
  • Goose Island
  • Magic Hat
  • New Belgium
  • New England Brewing
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Sixpoint
  • Surly

And these are just the biggies (sorry if I left any one out). Plus Oskar Blues was one of the first ones out with pint craft cans with Deviant Dale’s and the one of the only ones out there now with an Alumi-Tek resealable screw-top pint with their Sun King collab: Chaka (still trying to get my hands on one. Also trying to get some of their root beer which comes in the same style can). These guys are craft can pioneers.

So obviously when I get the opportunity to have all of one of my favorite brewery’s available beers (in our area) in one spot, I’m going to jump on the opportunity.

I got there and immediately lined em up. Some were on tap, some were in the can, some we brought a long. Here’s what we drank:

  • Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Deviant Dale’s
  • Gubna
  • G’Knight (sadly not on nitro)
  • Mama’s Little Yella Pils
  • Old Chub
  • Ten Fidy

Overall it was a pretty awesome night: I was able to drink some of my favorite beers side by side, get some new swag (the OB necklaces make fuh-CAN-awesome Christmas tree decorations), meet some new people, and even cracked open one of those Lawson’s bombers with friends at the end of the night. No complaints here.

Oskar Blue’s Deviant Dale’s IPA [#Beertography]

My third to last can of the  4 pack I picked up at Westmere Beverage. If you like Dale’s, you like Deviant Dale’s. If you don’t like Dale’s, well, you’re no friend of mine. The first can I had I wasn’t a huge fan of, such potent bitterness, punch in yer face hoppiness I just wasn’t expecting. I shifted my expectations and the next two cans went down smoother. My opinion of the beer has gone up. 

In other OB news, A) they’re opening up a brewery in North Carolina, which is totally road trip distance. This trip will happen, probably within the month they open up if I have my say in the matter. I’m an OB fanatic you guys know this. B) They just started canning their B. Stiff & Sons Old Fashioned Root Beer, available now at their online store. Unforch it’s only available by the case at $43 a pop (ouch). Who wants to split a case?