Tuesday night. 5:30pm. Star Bar.
That’s pretty much the directive every week. Last week, besides the usual hooligans and curious onlookers, a branded RV was in attendance. Oskar Blues’ RV pulled up outside Star Bar, and 15 influential under the influence Denverites boarded for a trip north.
The ride alone was trip-worthy. Had we driven for an hour, pulled a u-turn, and driven back, the night would have been complete. There’s something to be said about chugging Old Chub in a moving vehicle with a bunch of your friends sprawled across a bed. We didn’t do that, of course, because that would have broken a few laws. But there’s something to be said about it.
To the Tasty Weasel we went. Upon arrival, we were greeted with pints of delicious beer. Crowd favorites were definitely the Spiced Chub, Smiddy Stout, and HGH Part Duh. We went on a nice long tour of the brewery, rode the brewery bike into walls, and learned just how amazing this brewery is.
Off to Home Made Liquids and Solids we went! The amazing staff treated us like kings and queens. Pizza and flights of beer were delivered right as we sat down.
And then they attempted to assassinate said kings and queens. A seemingly innocuous plate of wings were left in the middle of the table. The server walked away, and then came sprinting back. “I forget to tell you,” she said. “Those are ghost pepper wings.” The stories below can finish off that portion of the tale.
The Gubna himself then addressed us all. Dale showed up soon after. One of the brewers from Sun King happened to be in the house, and hung out for a bit. Nate, the Bar Manager at HMLS, hung out and told us stories. Chad, social media spouter for the Blues shot the shit. All the while we were doing shots of ranch dressing, trying to douse the flames from the ghost pepper wings.
Outside of the pepperspray death wings, I had a great time.
The ride back was even more raucous than the ride up. Bob the Driver safely delivered us back to Star Bar, where we had an obviously necessary last drink.
Summary? Wednesday was an awful day.
And now for a few words from those in attendance:
Where oh where do I begin. The whole outing was just lovely. Getting to hang out with and meet fellow wagoners. The generosity of our hosts. The delicious beers. Tasting the awesome barrel project. #MakingContact. Seeing my friends get ‘ghosted’. The only down part of the night is that I now have a craving for more Spiced Chub in my life. That and having to walk past a fresh pile of puke to get back downstairs at HMLS (don’t you worry it was not one of us).
When it comes right down to it I love me some Oskar Blues beers. I am a fan of shotgunning so craft canned goodness is always a plus in my book. Their normal line is great but seasonal Ten Fidy is what really gets my heart singing. Having a rockin restaurant/taphouse so close to the brewery in Longmont makes it an awesome destination. If you have not yet done so I highly encourage a mini beerventure, heck throw in a visit to Lefthand while you are there!
1. Favorite parts: The ride up and down to Oskar Blues. There’s a bed in the RV. And it seats 7. More, it seats 7 hilarious friends giggling like kids. Because I’d only been to OB’s Grill and Brew house location up in Lyons, it was great to finally be there at the Tasty Weasel.
2. Funny Story: Other than the beloved inside joke we’ll all have about “making contact” — smooth, Nate, smooth — I have to say I’m still red with embarrassment of my graceful nature. I’m naturally a klutz (sober or otherwise), and after having maybe 5 sips of HGH Part Duh, I can still manage to be an even bigger klutz. Justin, Bess, and I were tipped off by one of the brewers of one of their beers resting in a Leopold Bro’s Apple Whiskey barrel. I tried to sneak around the back of the group, not watching where I was going, trying to be sly. Next thing, I knock over a pin keg (empty thank God) and blew my cover. Grace certainly isn’t my middle name. But it was worth it. Sipping that beer, where it’s been, and where it’s going makes me giggle with excitement.
3. Overall Takeaway for Me: Oskar Blues’s Old Chub was my first craft beer, so I cherish this beer. Just reminiscing about this beer makes me think of sitting by the campfire, shooting the shit with family, and sipping on delicious beer. At first, I couldn’t drink it. Here’s this harsh word “scotch” and a dark beer and it was a whopping 8%. But once I tried it, I thought I was drinking magic. And more, I could stomach big beers. As my introduction in this the craft beer world, I have a lot of thanks to give OB. Thanks for being an amazing community member in and out of the beer community, and thanks for making great beers.
1. Since it was all about the beer, my favorite part of the night was the delicious Spiced Chub that was all up in my face. It tasted like the holidays and was perfect for the chilly night and the celebratory atmosphere.
2. There are several things that I am still giggling about, much in the vain of a 14 year old girl, but screaming about the “hot nuts in my eye” will no doubt be a key phrase in my life for years to come. Not to mention the emergency eye wash via Jim and the lingering stinging and vision loss. Alas, I felt somewhat vindicated when a large portion of the crew’s mouths became inflamed due to the “ghosting” – when drunk people are served hot wings made with ghost peppers, someone will eat them.
3. Living in the Lyons/Longmont area for almost 10 years, I spent the better part of my 20s growing up along side Oskar Blues. It was the first craft beer I enjoyed and the first craft brewery I established a long standing, somewhat drunken relationship with. The nights I spent drinking their beer & listening to live blues is a huge part of the History of Shel. I love being able to say “I knew them when” but I really enjoy saying “I know them now”. Their commitment to the community through their sustainability programs like the Hops & Heifers Farm – something that I am convinced will drive sustainability efforts within other craft breweries or Oskar Blues specifically reaching out to their female fans through targeted events (p.s. VERY exited for their relaunch of the Can Can Girls Club!) really drives home the fact that Oskar Blues is as equally in love with their community as the community is in love with them. It warms the cocktails (I mean the cockles) of my heart!
It began with an offer to go to Longmont on a Tuesday night with my best drinking buds. We would be transported via RV. I had a one second debate with myself on how much Wednesday morning would suck, but hey, being Off the Wagon is not for the faint of heart. There are too many funny moments to recount, but what was most memorable about the evening was the sense of community. A bunch of beer geeks from Denver being welcomed into the home of Oskar Blues. Hanging with the Gubna, meeting THE Dale of Dale’s Pale Ale, peppering Chad with marketing questions, sneaking into the back to sample one of their beers that was aging in a Leopold’s Apple Whiskey barrel, daring each other to eat ghost pepper wings then trying not to cry. It was an amazing evening shared with passionate people. So head up north, visit the Tasty Weasel and Liquids & Solids, and enjoy having some rockstars of the craft beer world right here in our backyard.
Hanging out at Oskar Blues just made me realize again how savvy they have been. I remember drinking my first Dale’s back when they were originally released. Of course, like everyone, I did not trust the can. Too many years of canned shit had me conditioned to expect the worst. I brought the can up and the hoppy aroma took me by surprise first, then a sip, and the rest was history. OB has been one of my favorite breweries since. Watching the risks they have taken to grow with the craft beer industry have made me respect them even more. They have a great line of beers, G’Knight (fuck that, it will always be Gordon to me) is very close to being the beer I would want stranded on a desert island with me and the whole series of beers that they produce is excellent with only a few dips into the “pretty great” category.
I found out that they are hell of hospitable as well. They really treated us like VIPs. The tour of the Tasty Weasel was great and left me excited about the new things they have coming up. The food was tasty at HMLS but I will point out that you should make sure that you are aware of the possibility of cramming a ghost pepper wing in your mouth when you aren’t paying attention. You will suffer in stages, I assure you. Outside of the pepperspray death wings, I had a great time and want to thank Chris and Dale and the rest of the guys for keeping me on my toes all these years.
I have a hard time blacking out off of beer alone. It usually requires a healthy dose of gin and throwing back a few shots of Fernet, but Oskar Blues kept the beer and good times flowing just enough to make work on Wednesday really suck. The trip went well beyond Dale’s Pale Ale – a Colorado staple. The spiced Old Chub was amazing; it tasted something like licking a malty Christmas tree. Another highlight was Honey Badger, a smoked porter that contains meat drippings – fucking genius. I got fooled into eating a ghost pepper wing, which was funny at the time but exponentially added to my pain the next day (read: departure). Bottom line, these guys know what they are doing and they make kick ass beer. If you don’t believe me, make sure to contact someone at the brewpub.
What do you get when you put 16 (correct number?) of the most influential boozers in Denver in an RV filled with beer and a bed?!? Its like the Titanic, except we substitute raunch for romance, hilarity for drama, beer cans for icebergs, naked portraits for…well we don’t sub that out. Also, by influential, I just mean we are a bad influence and get people to drink more against their will and by the Titanic I mean the cheesy movie not the actual crashing of the Titanic, that would just be insensitive. I can only speak in metaphors and analogies because the true details of our trip to Oskar Blues in Longmont was just to gruesome and awesome and my memory is pretty foggy. I have a belly button!
*Please don’t print any of this, I am a big dumb idiot*
1. Favorite parts: (I just decided to list these. I hope that’s alright) hanging out with Bob the Bus Driver, riding that awesome bicycle around the brewery, meeting the Gubna and Dale, and the ghost pepper hot wing challenge.
2. Funny Story: I don’t know if I really have one. The best one might be best told from PJ’s perspective. It was when I freaked out about the fact that Chris was actually THE Gubna and how I insisted on taking pictures of his tattoos for proof.
3. Overall Takeaway for Me: Perhaps the most significant point of the evening for me was when I came to the realization that the Oskar Blues family (brewers, tour guides, muses, servers, etc.) is actually deeply and genuinely committed to the quality of its beer. In the beginning of the evening, I must admit that I was expecting to be taken around and given just another schmooze story about another craft brewery that was trying to pretend like it hadn’t sold out. I was sorely mistaken. Throughout the tour and in the side conversations I had with the brewery’s staff, I soon realized that there was no wool to be pulled over my eyes and that the enthusiasm for beer that was being conveyed by the OB folks was wildly sincere. These people love their beer. And sure, they definitely know just how good it is and just how popular they’ve become, but the growth of their business was spoken of only in terms of the necessary logistical juggling they’ve needed to do in order to keep up with the increasing demand. Quality still seems to remain at the core of their brewing ethos and their popularity has not yet gone to their heads. Instead of leading us around like slick-haired car salesmen, I felt that their behavior and tone was much similar to a spritely young child who is proudly showing off his new tree fort to a group of admiring friends.