G’Knight Oskar Blues
Tasting: June 10, 2013
Style: Imperial Red Ale
Beer # :472
G’Knight Oskar Blues: The message on back of the can reads, “If you knew the man behind this tribute, this dry-hopped ale needs no explanation. If you didn’t, we’re sorry.” Turns out the aforementioned man is Gordon Knight and he was a friend of Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis. Knight was a home brewer turned professional brewer and he garnered gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival for three different breweries. Knight was an Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war where he earned the purple heart. He died in 2002 at the age of 52 when his helicopter crashed while fighting a forest fire outside of Lyons, Colorado.
One other interesting note before I crack open this beer, the label also reads that this beer was brewed in Brevard, North Carolina. Colorado’s Oskar Blues joins California’s Sierra Nevada and fellow Colorado brewery – New Belgium as brewers that are putting North Carolina on the craft beer map by building east coast facilities.
G’Knight is an imperial red IPA. The signature color and flavor of red ales comes from slow roasting grains. The imperial designation comes from increased alcohol strength — and at 8.7% G’Knight lives up to the description. Being an IPA, I’d also expect elevated hop profile – hopefully enough to balance out what should be a rich malt backbone.
Right out of the gate, G’Knight gives me that burnt caramel sweetness, and then any chance of balance are gone under an avalanche of earthy, black pepper and tangerine rind hops and some very evident alcohol ether. Mouthfeel is lush and sticky. This is a nice red ale – but it would have higher marks with more more caramel sweetness. There are better examples – Troeggs Nugget Nectar and Great Lakes Nosferatu come to mind. Still a worthy effort at 87.