Sean’s Sips – Oskar Blues/Sun King CHAKA


  • Style:  Belgian Pale Ale
  • ABV:  8.0%
  • IBU:  30
  • SRM:  24
  • Hops:  Liberty, Czech Saaz
  • Malt:  Belgian Pale Malt from Colorado Malting Co.
  • Yeast:  Special 3-Yeast Belgian Blend from Brewing Science Institute
  • Additives: Shagbark Hickory syrup from Hickoryworks in Trafalgar, Indiana


This CAN-laboration (their term, not mine) began as most do, with a friendship among two brewers.  This friendship didn’t arise over their mutual love for the aluminum can, but rather through proximity.  Dave Chichura, Oskar Blues Head Brewer, began brewing at a professional level in Indianapolis 15 years ago.  It was there that he met, and became friends with Dave Colt and Clay Robinson of Sun King.  The three brewers had not collaborated before this because, to do so previously, they would have had to order such a large volume of cans.  With most collaboration beers being done on a smaller scale, this posed a problem.  The solution arose when Sun King contacted the Ball Corporation to discuss using the Alumi-Tek® re-sealable pint bottle for their upcoming sour beer releases.  This bottle (can?) allowed them to purchase a smaller run of cans and provided the opportunity to work with longtime friend Dave.

You get an opportunity to brew with people you’ve known for such a long time and be able to brew at each other’s respective breweries as well.  It was just really, really simple after that.  We put together, I think, a really great recipe.  – Dave Chichura, Oskar Blues Head Brewer

To make this beer even more unique, they decided to use several indigenous ingredients from each brewery’s home state.  Indiana provided the Shagbark Hickory syrup from Hickoryworks in Trafalgar, IN while the grain and yeast came from Colorado (Colorado Malting Company and Brewing Science Institute, respectively).  Sadly, the beer is only available at Oskar Blues locations (as well as Indianapolis, Indiana if you feel like driving that far).  To quote Clay Robinson, “It’s a whole new can.”

For more info on the beer, check out this video shot during the Craft Brewers Conference by The Can Van:


So I got to thinking… a collaboration beer deserves a collaboration review, right?  Here are Scott Steigerwald’s, aka Denver Beer Hunter (if you’re looking for when a new beer hits town, check out his blog… regularly), thoughts on this stand-up beer:

Aroma – Caramel, sugar and spice.

Taste – Belgian yeast and spice, breadiness, brown sugar and dark fruits.  The hops were present, but not to the extent where I would call this a Belgian IPA.  Although listed as a Belgian Pale Ale, this leans more towards a slightly lighter dubbel.

Drinkability – Very drinkable.  Despite its 8% ABV, I felt this could be a good lawnmower beer… well, for me anyway.

Verdict – I liked this very much, it was light and sessionable (disclaimer: I mostly drink RIS, Barleywine and DIPA.  Sessionable to me is a relative term).  There did seem to be something missing though, which I can’t quite place my finger on.  It needed more balance to counteract the sweetness and spice, more hops would have been perfect for me.  But the best part; the twist-off aluminum bottle.  In the past, I have scoffed at the Bud in the aluminum can, but the difference here is that this is resealable.  Some have said, “who cares if it’s resealable, I’m going to pour it into a glass and drink the whole thing”.  However if you’re mowing the lawn, this can be resealed to keep the bugs and flying grass away.  I also brought two of these cans in to watch The Avengers and it worked out perfectly.  The people around me didn’t know any better.  I was able to reseal it to keep the aroma at bay and leave it at my seat undisturbed from spillage when I visited the lavatory.  The aluminum bottle gets an A+ all by itself!


[Disclaimer: I realize that I am in no way qualified to judge beer… so I’m not.  The goal of this post is to introduce you to a local beer that I think you’d enjoy.  It’s fine if you don’t agree with me, just don’t post angry comments about how you can’t believe I didn’t taste bubblegum, clove, and/or hot dogs in said beer.]

About Sean Buchan

Sean is a Physical Therapist and Photographer living in (and loving) Denver, Colorado. He enjoys shooting just about anything but his true passion is capturing the craft beer culture here in Denver. If you enjoy his photographs check out Beertographer.

  • Erik Caine Sober

    Dave Chichura is amazing, I don’t know that they have released a bad Beer yet. I don’t know about this Bottle (I am an Old Fashion kind of Guy), but I know the Brew will be amazing.