Oskar Blues Brewing “G’knight Imperial IPA”

January 17, 2012

Last week this publication asked of its regular contributors to point out coming trends in their respective fields of expertise for 2012. I would’ve obliged you guys but there was a U-haul full of Vonnegut novels and Mystery Science Theater bootlegs that had to be unpacked before the rental deadline on the truck expired. Instead, I can now kill two birds with one stone and talk about a couple of the top trends to come in the world of beer while still providing our regularly-scheduled program – er, column.

In case you haven’t noticed, more and more craft brewers are making the switch to canning their beers. Before anyone writes off these selections as cheap or inferior, consider the following.

Turns out there are numerous advantages to using a can over a bottle. First, it’s not as breakable. This means it’s allowed in more outdoor locations (i.e. beaches, parks and tailgate parties) and isn’t quite the hazard that broken glass can be. Next, it’s lighter and that means it’s easier to carry, costs less in shipping and, ultimately, should cost less to the customer in turn.

Cans also stack more easily. In a display cooler, for instance, we can fit double the regular amount by placing one row on top of the other. The effect is two-fold there; maximizing capacity while creating a visual draw. The same goes for craft cans’ presence on the retail shelves. When they’re surrounded by bottles, the few cans next to them grab attention.

Finally, the biggest benefit of the switch to cans is that sunlight can never affect the quality of the product inside. It’s not an inexpensive switch, either, but it’s one that exceptional brewers are willing to make. We’re already seeing some canning from some big names but for today’s beer I’m picking one from the guys who, to the best of my knowledge, kicked off the trend. The G’knight Imperial IPA from Oskar Blues is the other half of the trending I mentioned earlier: big beer. More and more brewers out there are giving us imperial and/or double recipes while cranking up the hop content. G’knight sets a standard in the style with hazy tangerine color and massive scents of grapefruit and pineapple with a caramel malt background. Its medium-to-thick body delivers loads of tangy lemon, orange and pine flavors along with some biscuit malt at the end and a hint of hay and toffee. The finish is long and the 8.7% abv is (dangerously) well-hidden.

G’knight is sold at the new Hopjacks on 9 Mile Rd and not our downtown location, so you’ll just have to make the little journey north to try it.