I am not a fan of the reds.  Yes, baseball season is in full-swing, but I’m talking about pints instead of pitches. In the liquor store, reds and ambers only get a passing glance as I scan for stouts and IPAs. However, being such a fan of Oskar Blues, I decided to let their G’Knight Imperial Red IPA step up to the plate. I was not disappointed, and I’m still yet to find a beer by them that I don’t like. G’Knight pours a beautiful semi-transparent amber that is both beautiful and revealing. Most reds are darker revealing a heavy malt bill as these usually stress biscuity and sweet flavors with just a slight hop balance. Seeing the color of G’Knight, and knowing Oskar Blues, it is anticipated that the sweetness will be tamed and the hops turned up. This sixer was canned less than a month ago, so it’s still quite fresh. This is immediately noticeable. The beer is dry-hopped which really accentuates the aroma. It is bursting with notes of fresh fruit and flowers. There is a sweetness present, but it is more of a tropical fruit sweetness than just a sugary sweetness. My nose combined the fruitiness and sweetness into an aroma reminiscent of a Starburst, particularly cherry. The hops are a bit humble, but they are causing me to picture that cherry Starburst lying on a pine forest path. Oskar Blues G’Knight G’Knight has a pleasant, medium-heavy mouthfeel which is the first and perhaps most pronounced indicator of the beer’s 8.7%. The thick head also tickles the tongue a bit with the initial sips. The beer definitely has typical amber characteristics on the front of the tongue with a malty flavor characterized as biscuit and bready. But this is about as far as “typical” goes with this beer. The hops lose their humility and totally transform the beer earning it its IPA status. The bread notes combined with the hops give it a rye bread flavor though there is no rye added. The middle of the tongue is awash with floral notes and a bit of a plum flavor. And as if to totally unfetter itself from the common flavor bondage of a simple red ale, the finish is all IPA with dank pine flavors remaining long in a finish that is preserved by a dampness coating the tongue most likely due to hop oils contributed from the dry-hopping. Though an 8.7% beer is plenty strong for aging, respect the beer and the brewers’ hard work and drink this one fresh. Check the date on the bottom of the can and avoid cans stored unrefrigerated. The hops and dry-hopping really shine when fresh can and give you the aromas and flavors that the brewers intended. This beer is also a fantastic choice as a trail companion. Cans are bikepacking friendly. In addition, the flavors of this beer are accentuated even when the beer is not cold. Finally, 8.7% means that you don’t need to carry many. So even if you are not a fan of typical reds, give this one a chance. Oskar Blues has knocked it out of the park. Cheers, Alex Bikepacking Friendliness (cans travel well)….9/10 Aroma (fresh and fruity with a nice hoppiness underneath)…9/10 Flavor (atypical and amazing)….9/10 Style-Appropriateness (a red IPA that ups the ABV)….8/10

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