Brewing with Oskar Blues

In our pilot brewhouse, Oskar Blues’ brewer Noah Tuttle smiled wide for the camera while fellow brewer Tim Matthews snapped away using his cell phone.

“This is really where I’m supposed to be in life,” Tim joked, poking fun at his photography skills.

While their photos might be rudimentary, the beers these gentlemen make are remarkable, and they’re bringing this know-how to one of the collaborative Beer Camp Across America beers you’ll see in our mixed 12-pack.

For our first test batch, Tim and Noah trekked to Chico from two mountain ranges: the Rockies and the Blue Ridge. Oskar Blues took root in Colorado in the late ’90s, raising eyebrows by packaging its brews only in cans. The pioneering move paid off and screaming success inspired the opening of a second brewery in 2012 in Brevard, North Carolina. Aren’t we a lucky neighbor; that’s just 20 minutes south of our second brewery in Mills River, North Carolina.

Tim, head brewer in Colorado, and Noah, head brewer in North Carolina, saw this Beer Camp Across America collaboration as taking recess from our normal lineups.

“We wanted to mess around a little bit,” Tim said, noting that neither of our breweries often release lagers on a wide scale. Mama’s Little Yella Pils is Oskar Blues’ mainstay lager, and Summerfest® is our bottom-fermenting go-to.

Lager, then, would be our baseline, but we’d push it toward the more assertive inclinations shared by both of our breweries. Up the German ladder we climbed to a malt-driven doppelbock style that would include some rugged rye in the grain bill. Tim opted to exclude common crystal malt because “it can dominate…just muddy the water sometimes,” while a handful of rich red wheat helps round out our grist.

Accenting all of this malty ambition are several hop varieties including Australian Ella whose promise of lemon and anise-like spice we’ll capture through dry hopping.

Tim told us that Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis tests the merit of their new beers by whether or not he can smell them from across the room when they’re poured. Hyperbole or not, it means that Dale is after beers you cannot ignore.

When you crack open this rye-laced, hop-jolted doppelbock this summer, we can imagine where your attention will be for all 12 ounces.

March 11, 2014 - 11:01am