Even with a local craft beer scene that has exploded over the past several years, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I could get Oskar Blues without driving across the Missouri border. Oskar Blues is my favorite brewery. What is not to love about a company that makes world-class beers and hand-built bikes? A much harder question to answer is whether I am fonder of the Dale’s Pale Ale beer or my Dale’s Pale Ale themed REEB bike. I’m thankful I can have both.
Sometimes 100 IBU, 9% double IPAs are just too much. Yet a 4.5%, 30 IBU pale ale is not going to satisfy me. Dale’s Pale Ale strikes a perfect balance between a timid pale ale and an over-the-top IIPA. At 6.5% and 65 IBUs it is no slouch. It also falls outside of the current BJCP guidelines for an American Pale Ale as well as outside of the 2015 GABF guidelines for American Pale Ale and American Strong Pale Ale. But Oskar Blues is not the kind of brewery to get overly concerned with guidelines. They are far more concerned with making amazing beers while not neglecting to add high doses of fun.
Pouring a Dale’s begins to reveal its true character. When I think pale ale, I think paler colors. But Dale’s pours a beautiful, clear mahogany. The head is beige, frothy and extremely thick. The head is also not afraid to stay awhile. The bubbles are large and leave nice lacing as they burst. There is a honey and cotton candy sweetness in the aroma, but there is no masking the presence of the hops.
The carbonation gives a nice burn to wake up the tongue and prepare it for the flavor deluge that is to follow. The beer is wonderfully thick and frothy, coating the tongue and letting the taste buds process the beer’s complexity. The solid malt bill gives flavors of caramel, honey, and biscuit. The sweetness is segregated to the front and middle of the tongue. The hops begin their takeover on the sides of the tongue before a long piney finish. The finish lingers and soon controls the entire mouth if given adequate time between sips.
This beer pairs just as well with a salted and peppered steak as it does with spicy sausage. It will even pair with cheeses as appetizers or dark chocolates for dessert.
Dale’s Pale Ale is the canned craft beer OG. It is available in 12 ounce and 19.2 ounce cans. Six packs here run about 9-10 bucks. Grab a can. Grab some fun. Hmmm… Fun… Can… FunCAN Tasty!
Bikepacker Friendliness (12 and 19.2 oz cans & REEB bikes) 10/10
Aroma (sweet and bitter…seems there should be a word for that ) 8/10
Flavor (well-balanced and refreshing) 9/10
Style Appropriateness (Oskar Blues says, “Who Cares?”) 8/10