Thursday, April 17, 2008

A new favorite

One of the joys of starting a beer column has been that people in the newsroom now randomly bring me new beers to try. This works well as long as I can wait until I get home to sample them. A fellow hop-head at the office (Staff Writer Matt Kasper, whose dad Rob Kasper, coincidentally, writes the Kasper On Tap blog for the Baltimore Sun), recently brought me a can (yes, can) of Dale's Pale Ale, the flagship product of Oskar Blues Cajun Grill & Brewery in Lyons, Col.

I'm a sucker for a well-hopped pale or IPA, and I've since added this beer to my list of favs. The Dale's sings with Centennial hops, and if like me you crave the flavor of the bitter flower this should satisfy your jones ... at least for awhile. I wish this were legal in Albama (it's 6.5 percent ABV). I don't advocate breaking state law, but I know that it is available just across the border at Arbor Place Beverage Depot in Douglasville, Ga.

Oskar Blues founder and Dale's Pale Ale namesake Dale Katechis, I'm told, is an Alabama native, and would love to distribute his products here. I hope state law soon will allow him to do it.

The can, by the way, is said to be a first-of-its-kind innovation for a craft brewer. Good-beer drinkers are used to getting their stuff from bottles. But the cheaper & lighter aluminum cans keep beer-spoiling light and air out better than glass. Plus, they're welcome in many places, such as beaches and parks, that bottles aren't. Fellow Colorado brewer New Belgium (of Fat Tire fame) recently announced it's following Oskar's lead. As long as you drink the beer from a glass, you don't really taste the aluminum anyway.