Oskar Blues Brewing Gubna Imperial IPA

October 6, 2010

Now there’s an interesting name for a beer. It sounds like cockney with a head cold. There seems to be a bit of mystery, secrecy even, involving this particular ale. Are we supposed to decipher some hidden code? Is there a puzzle to solve? If so, what is the reward other than wisdom?

The clues begin on the can. Yes, good beer can come out of a can. In fact, Oskar Blues Brewery only packages in keg or can so there will never be any damage to the liquid inside from sunlight. Back to the clues… “Gubna” sounds like “governor” so, perhaps, there’s some sort of political leaning going on here. Then we have the word “disestablishmentarian” right under the rim of the can. As a noun it means “a person who favors the separation of church and state.” As a review of beer it means all of Pensacola’s Christian conservatives plus the parishioners at my parents’ church are now throwing the newspaper away.

Before I accidentally start a controversy, let’s move along. Next clue is a mixed-metaphor referencing Lynrd Skynrd (Julio, is that spelled correct?). “Does your can-science bother you? Tell the truth.” The last head-scratcher reads “Give the Gubna a harrumph, harrumph.” (Interesting side note: my spell-checker underlined “scratcher” but left “harrumph” alone. Weird.) So… we’re supposed to clear our throats in a gruff manner towards religious governors from the state of Alabama?

What does all this mean and what the h-e-double-hockey sticks does this have to do at all with beer? Cryptically, no one seems to know. Online searches yielded no information. A little X-Files-ish, yes, but at least it’s more interesting than the average can of beer. Enough already, Agent Muldur. Are you gonna talk about the beer?

It’s a big one, the Gubna, and not to be trifled with. Cloudy tan in color with a dense, creamy head leaving sticky rings of lacing. Huge pine and grapefruit scents overwhelm any other possible smells leaving the glass. Despite being clobbered by the hops like a whack-a-mole game, there’s a tremendous malt sweetness burning through the huge, spicy hops. Flavors of citrus and dried apricot manage to wave hello past the dense, chewy pine of the Summit hops used to make the ale. Sporting a 10% a.b.v. and 100 IBUs, one will need to go easy on the Gubna. Grab your Orphan Annie decoder ring and enjoy a can of enigma.