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February 2, 2012

The Oskar Blues Ordeal: The Best Thing I Did in 2011

Oskar Blues giant can, Home Made Liquids & Solids - Longmont, CO
This past September I made my first ever pilgrimage to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. It was a great time, but one specific excursion came away as easily the most fun and the most memorable. It's called the Oskar Blues Ordeal, and what an ordeal it is. To this day, I still think back to this little day trip out of Denver and wish I could repeat it. That's saying a lot considering how much is going on in and around Denver GABF weekend.

our chariot for the day

So the gist of the trip was as follows: Meet at Falling Rock in Downtown Denver (if you've been to GABF, you've been to Falling Rock - it's the epicenter of everything craft beer that weekend) and a bus will take you to 4 awesome Oskar Blues locations. Sounds promising enough, Oskar Blues is great. Why not do it? Wait a second, there's going to be unlimited cans of all of Oskar Blues beers throughout the entire trip? Are you kidding me? Alright then. Accompanied by four long-time friends, we gladly accepted the challenge.

The first stop was at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons. This was where OB first started brewing their tasty beers. In fact, they still brew there, but more in a small-batch capacity compared to their production facility which we'll see later. The meet-up time at Falling Rock was a painful 8:30am after attending the Thursday evening GABF session, so needless to say we were hungry by the time we arrived in Lyons.

So, naturally we were drinking beer by 10am! Basically we arrived at the Grill and were welcomed by the staff offering us a huge pile of breakfast burritos accompanied by a bin of OB cans. This was a great start to the day, and I just reminded myself that it was 12pm back East.

the burritos were phenomenal, and a Mama's Little Yella Pils was the perfect pairing

After we finished our burritos, we were treated to a tour of the original brewing facility at the Lyons location by one of the brewers who gave us OB's whole history. Then we were treated to something very, very special.

Jeff & Josh enjoy Deviant Dale's
After the tour was complete, the brewer poured for each of a small glass of Deviant Dale's. This was the first time I had heard of this malevolent creation, but it will be hitting store shelves in can form in NYC this Monday (2/6). And it was amazing. Dale's Pale Ale is one of my favorite go-to beers, but this was just ramped up a bit in all flavor departments. Do yourself a favor and make sure you pick some of this up when it comes out. Did I mention it was amazing?

We continued on with our can sampling after we were done with our Deviant Dale's, trying to take our time with deliciously strong beers like the GUBNA above. It's no easy task.

almost as cool as our ride

cold canned beers everywhere!
the last sip of Deviant Dale's

After the grill, the bus transported us to the next stop, the Oskar Blues Hops & Heifers Farm just outside of Longmont. This was one part of the tour that I thought would be okay, but it turned out to be the apex of the entire year in beer for me. Our entire tour group of 35 or so people loaded onto 2 tractors and made our way down to the farm itself nestled at the bottom of a gently sloping hill.

Here we encountered COWS!!!! Here's the info from OB themselves: "The farm currently grazes 100% Oskar Blues raised Black Angus cattle that are part of the sustainable model at the Hops & Heifers farm. In addition, The ranch hosts 3,500 hop plants across 2 acres. The hopyard menu includes Centennial, Columbus, Nugget, Chinook, Willamette, Mt.Hood, Cascade and Sterling"

As a person who believes in organic sustainable food, I was delighted by this. That said, I'm never too comfortable staring my lunch in the eye, but it was great to see happy cows with plenty of room to graze. I was already in heaven and we hadn't even seen the hops yet.

Ian enjoys a non-Deviant Dale's while being transported to the hops via tractor

This here was the pinnacle of beer awesomeness. The tractor dropped us off at the hop growing portion of the farm and they told us how the hops had recently been harvested. Bummer. But then... they told us that those hops had been put into a beer, and it was on tap. TO DRINK. RIGHT THERE!

The beer was called HGH (Home Grown Hops) and we got to enjoy it while meandering through the hop bines. Everything sort of came together. Sustainability. Great tasting, hoppy beer. Beautiful weather. A perfect storm of awesomeness.

Tim, elated to be amongst the hops
Hop Bines reaching toward the Colorado sky
Jeff, myself, Ian, Josh

if you had to grab a pint of HGH for the road, wouldn't you garnish it with a hop?

Sour Cherry Ten FIDY
Our next stop was Home Made Liquids & Solids in Longmont for lunch. Unfortunately we didn't take many photos here outside of the one above and the first photo in this post, but it basically entailed getting a buffet lunch and 2 rounds of beers. This was much needed after a good amount of beers and the food was delicious.

The final stop on this whirlwind tour was OB's production brewery and the Tasty Weasel tap room. After seeing so much small-scale brewing, it was almost overwhelming how gigantic their canning facility actually is.

watch the Yella fly by. a lot.. of Dale's.
By this point we were of course quite exhausted, but still had a great and informative tour of their grand brewing facility. We gathered around a table in the Tasty Weasel tap room and discussed the unbelievably awesome day we'd just experienced. I'm pretty sure this was the point when we all said we'd come back and do it again in 2012.

Special thanks to Brittany Dern from Oskar Blues who made this awesome trip possible. Here's to hoping that 2012 brings another awesome experience like 2011 did.


  1. Haha, awesome pics. I just made chocolate stout cookies with salted caramel frosting using Ten Fidy (bought from Jersey Wines and Spirits, of course) this past weekend.

  2. Thanks Jackie! Those cookies sound amazing and i love Jersey Wine & Spirits!