Tag Archives: Oskar Blues

Bold City Brewing’s Dukes Cold Nose Brown Ale to hit store shelves in cans

l106579-11092009-newThe canned craft beer revolution has really caught on since Oskar Blues rocked the industry by shunning bottles and putting their award-winning brews in aluminum. Just over a year ago, Intuition Ale Works was the first craft brewery in the entire state of Florida to can their tasty brews, now there are many that can including Cigar City and Green Room. The latest local brewery to join the ranks of craft brewers putting beer in tubes, as the Aussies put it, is Bold City.

According to a press release from Bold City:

“Dukes Cold Nose Brown Ale has been canned and is our first canned beer. $1 from every case sold will go to support our local Jacksonville Humane Society!

“Bold City Dukes Cold Nose Brown Ale Cans will be available tomorrow in select areas/locations including ABC liquors, Total Wine & More, Broudy’s Liquors, Beer:30 and Grassroots Natural Market.

“Just around the corner, Killer Whale Cream Ale and Mad Manatee IPA will be canned in the coming months – so please stay tuned for further developments!”

Bold City Brewing Company was the first of the craft area craft brewers and has recently begun a major expansion to keep up with growing demand for their products. Future plans include creating an indoor bier garden in what used to be the brewing space of their brewery on Roselle Street in the Riverside/Avondale area of Jacksonville.

Watch for Bold City beer in cans to hit store shelves beginning Tuesday, June 25.

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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Local Brewery


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Oskar Blues amping up a favorite, preparing a new seasonal

gubnaOskar Blues Brewing Company has been turning heads since 1998 when Dale Katechis began brewing beer is the basement of his Lyons, Colo. restaurant. The brewery really began as a side-project to provide fresh beer to hos restaurant, but soon Katechis decided to convert his restaurant to a brewpub. His brews were never timid; they always grabbed the drinker by the throat and let them know they were drinking a brew made with passion. A year after establishing the brewery, Katechis’ little brewery captured a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival for “The Reverend Sandi’s Sinful Stout.” Demand for the brews grew and a few years later in 2002, Oskar Blues shook up the craft beer world again by doing the unthinkable and canning their beers.

Over the next 10 years, the craft brew movement grew and Oskar Blues expanded with it. Today the company operates a brewery in Longmont, Colo. and another in North Carolina. In 2012 they produced 95,000 barrels of brew, that’s a far cry from the 760 they rolled out in 2002.

This year, the brewery is making a few changes to its lineup. Gubna, a malty, hopped-up Imperial Rye IPA is about to get a formula change. Until now the brew that accomplished it’s outrageous 100 IBUs of bitterness and 10% ABV through the use of three types of malt and just one hop; Summit. This year Cascade hops are being added to the already challenging brew. The brew is also being taken from a year-round offering to a seasonal spring offering to be available in March, April, and May.

Gubna is being moved to seasonal status because the brewery is planning the debut of a new seasonal brew in July. While the brewery is not saying what the brew will be, it has been introducing new cans to the market including a modern version of the old cone top can made of aluminum that has a twist-off aluminum top. The last beer packaged in that can was The Deuce an Imperial Brown that was available during the fall of 2012.

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Beer, Beer News, Craft Beer Brewery


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GABF 2012 Session One: The Beginning

There was a definite buzz in the air 30 minutes before the doors opened for Session 1 of the 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). In the lobby on the Colorado Convention Center eager beer enthusiasts were lined up awaiting the dropping of the ropes for entry into the main exposition hall. While inside the hall, breweries, volunteers, and press were busily preparing for the onslaught. In a word, it was magical.

This year GABF played host to 578 breweries from all around the United States, including breweries from both Alaska and Hawaii. Those breweries brought with them over 2,700 beers for festival attendees to taste that amounted to over 36,500 gallons of beer served in one ounce portions. The event’s home, the Colorado Convention Center, has 584,000 square feet exhibit space most of which was utilized for the festival. The event hosted 49,000 attendees including staff, brewers, attendees, and press.

Inside the event hall guests found food vendors, a beard trimming exhibit from Wahl, a silent disco sponsored by Oskar Blues, an Airstream picture booth from Black Star Beer, a Brew Pub Pavilion with food and beer pairings, a Farm-to-Table Pavilion, a bookstore, a t-shirt shop, and lots of beer!

As 5:15 approached the folks in the lines outside the exhibition all began to become more and more excited. Cries of, “We want beer!” began to echo through the cavernous lobby. An army of ticket-takers, security, and assorted other volunteers manned their stations in preparation for the heard of humanity waiting to get in. An announcer proclaimed across the PA system, “Two minutes until the 2012 Great American Beer Festival is open.”  Breweries hurriedly prepared.

And then, the doors opened. Wave after wave of thirsty beer lovers poured into the exhibition hall and were instructed to keep their tickets out in order to collect a plastic tasting cup and program. For a while there was a backup at the entrance, but after a few minutes a sort of rhythm was achieved and happy festival attendees began making their way into the hall.

Attendees to beer events tend to be eclectic and those coming to GABF are no different. Among the attendees were numerous men in lederhosen and women in dirndls. But, there was also a posse of Waldos (as in Where’s Waldo), a clan of men in Scottish kilts, a gang of colorfully zoot suited guys. There were girls dressed in skimpy, sexy plaid shorts and even sexier skimpy dresses and stratospheric heels. There were attendees dressed as beer kegs, beer steins, and disco dancers. There was even an appearance by Abraham Lincoln and a space-suited gorilla. Perhaps the most entertaining and amusing group were the Shriners complete with miniature cars worn around their waists, fez’s, and musical bicycle horns. It truly was a spectacle.

As the night went on, the crowd moved from table to table sampling beers from the likes of Sweetwater Brewing Company, Schlafly Brewing, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, Upland Brewing, and 10 Barrel Brewing Company. Long lines formed at some of the heavyweight brewer’s tables like Cigar City, Firestone Walker, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues. But, never did anyone complain. Instead people began to bond with one another. A sort of camaraderie developed between those in line together and, when those same people bumped into each other later in the night, high-fives and fist bumps were shared all around.

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Beer, Beer Festival


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Cans Offer Excellent Beer Drinking Experience

Beer in cans is not new to the world in general, but canned beer in the craft beer world is a growing phenomenon. Craft beer brewers have had to re-educate their consumers to the virtues of canning beer as opposed to bottling ever since Oskar Blues Brewing started the trend in the early 2000’s.

Because canned beer was most closely identified with the low quality, mass-produced brews of the mega producers, craft brewers have been wary of switching from bottles to cans. But, over the past few years, more and more brews have decided to take the plunge and invest in a canning set-up. Most notably among these new pioneers is Sierra Nevada, which is canning both its Pale Ale and Torpedo IPA.

So, what are the advantages of cans vs. bottles? Other than the comfort factor consumers have in glass bottles, cans really have many more pluses than bottles. When you consider the fact that bottles are fragile, heavy, and do not provide a complete light barrier, you begin to see the wisdom in using aluminum. Broken bottles are costly, their weight causes higher shipping charges, and light, well you know the havoc it can cause with beer. On the other hand, aluminum cans are durable, light weight, and provide a completely impenetrable light barrier. And, to head off any talk of metallic taste, modern beer cans are coated so that the beer never touches the metal.

The result of using cans over bottles is a win/win situation. Brewers win because cans are light-weight, easy to fill, and cost less than bottles. Consumers win because their beer is fresher, completely protected from air intrusion, and equally protected from becoming light-struck.

It is estimated that the number of craft brewers canning their beer is approaching 100. Other sources maintain the number is more like 80. Either way, there are more and more breweries jumping on the canning band wagon. According to Team Hopheads, there are at least eight breweries with canned craft beer available in the Jacksonville market. Breweries such as the already mentioned Sierra Nevada and Oskar Blues are joined by Abita, Magic Hat, Shiner, Brooklyn, and Crispin Hard Cider.

Newly added to the list of breweries that offer canned brews is Jacksonville’s Intuition Ale Works. Intuition has the additional distinction of being the first brewery in Florida to can their brews. And if the sales they have been seeing from the canned beers are any indication, the beer-loving public of Jacksonville has no problem whatsoever purchasing canned craft brews. Sales at the Tap Room of canned Intuition beer have been brisk for some time now. It is not unusual to see several cases leave the building in just a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday afternoon. But, the response that the cans received when released to retailers was simply amazing. On the first two days the beer was available in cans, Total Wine at the St. John’s Town Center had sold over 50 cases.

Currently Intuition is canning three varieties of beers; Jon Boat, People’s Pale Ale, and I-10 IPA. These three brews are by far the brewery’s best sellers and should become even more popular now that they are readily available away from a beer tap or growler.

Cans have come a long way from the old cone-tops and pull tabs; they have become true works of modern engineering worthy of our praise and awe. Without the can, its portability and safety where would we be as a society? No one can truly answer that question, but it is safe to bet, without cans beer would be a little more cumbersome to carry and you would not get to hear that satisfy “Pfffst!” sound as you popped one open.


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A Tale of Two Beers

Imperial stout (Wiibroe porter)

Image via Wikipedia

North Florida is in the grip of old man winter, which basically means we are going to have a couple of really cold days followed by a week of mild days. Winters here can be confusing to the new arrival. Just about the time you pull out your winter coats, crank up the heat, and stock up on firewood the weather changes and everyone is wearing shorts and flip-flops again. Yes, north Florida is a magical place when it comes to winter weather. But, the schizophrenic weather we Jacksonvillians endure does not mean that we can?t enjoy some good traditional winter beer. And by that I mean stouts and porters. Sure, the beer aficionados out there will argue that there are many other winter brews to choose from and that stouts and porters are quaffable year-round. And they would be correct. But, since this is my column and I want to write about stouts and porters, that is that. Sit back gentle reader and let me take you on a little journey to the world of David Copperfield (the character, not the magician) and the Georgian and Victorian periods of England.

Stouts and porters originated in approximately the same era and their roots can be traced back to similar brewers. Indeed the two dark beers can be traced to have originated only 50 years apart. Both are English and, though there are differences between the two in modern brewing, the two terms were used somewhat interchangeably in early England.

Mention of stout beers can be found as early as 1677; the original meaning of the word stout was “proud’ or “brave” (which begs the question; shouldn’t that movie with Mel Gibson about the Scottish fighters be called “Stoutheart?” Just asking.). It was later that the word took on the meaning of strong and was attached to beer. A stout beer, therefore, meant it was a strong beer, typically over 7% or 8% ABV. The term became synonymous with the strongest – or stoutest – porters. In general stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water, and yeast.

It wasn’t until the early 1700s that mention of porters could be found. Porter was originally an attempt to capture the flavor of a popular pub blend known as “three threads.” This potent blend was a favorite of the baggage porters at Victoria Station who often made a meal of the rich brew. This combination of brews consisted of equal parts ale, beer, and twopenny the strongest style of beer produced at the time. The mixture became known as porter in recognition of the above mentioned baggage handlers around 1730 after a brewer named Harwood brewed a single beer called Entire that recreated the “three threads” flavor.

All London Porters were matured in barrels for six to eighteen months before they were racked into smaller casks for distribution to pubs. Thus, porters became known as an aged beer while a stout beer could be a young, strong porter. In modern porter production it is not unusual for the beer to be aged in used bourbon barrels, which impart the smoky flavor of the liqueur to the beer.

Early London Porters were strong by today’s standards, but soon became less strong due to taxation on higher alcohol beers. The popularity of the beers forced brewers to produce these beers in a wide variety of strengths. Brewers began to produce Single Stout Porters, Double Stout Porters (such as Guinness), Triple Stout Porters, and Imperial Stout Porters.

There are a number of types of stouts and porters for the dark beer lover to choose from. Below is a short list of the major categories.

Dry Stout – Very dark, almost black, in color. These beers often have a toast or coffee flavor.

Imperial Stout – Is a strong, dark beer originally brewed in England for export to Catherine the II of Russia. The beer had a higher alcohol content to keep it from freezing during shipment.

Baltic Porter – Big and bold, this style is often brewed with lager yeast and is full of coffee and dark fruit flavors. Some brewers also make a smoked version with flavors ranging from coffee made over a campfire to bacon – yes, really.

Milk Stout – Brewed with lactose, a sugar derived from milk and not digestible and therefore unfermentable, milk stouts are often sweet, heavy in body, and high in calories.

Oatmeal Stout – Just as it sounds, this beer is brewed with oats which can impart a bitter or astringent flavor.

Chocolate Stout – These stouts use darker, more aromatic malts roasted until they are the color of chocolate. Some brewers add actual chocolate as well.

Coffee Stout – As the name indicates, these beers have a pronounced coffee flavor derived from the darkest roasted malts.

Oyster Stout – Yes, they actually brew beer with oysters thrown in the fermentation tank. Not for everyone, but it is out there.

Ok, Mr. Peabody says we have to head back to the Way-Back Machine and return to the modern day. Because I have you, my faithful reader’s best interest at heart, I asked a few beer experts to give me their take on these dark pints of heaven.

Ben Davis is owner and brew master at Intuition Ale Works on King Street in the Riverside area. His King Street Stout is a wonderful blend of roasty caramel and milk chocolate flavors. He brews his beer with brown sugar, which dries the beer out and compliments these flavors as it lightens the body increasing the drinkability. Since it seems to be one of the most popular beers in his tap room – it doesn’t last long when they tap it — it goes without saying; it’s darn good!

Other than his own beers, Ben recommends, Allagash’s Black, which is a Belgian style stout. It is a very drinkable style and I think the King Street Stout and it have a lot in common.” Other recommendations from Ben include: Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues and Old Rasputin from North Coast.

Steve Rushe, owner of local beer blog Beer Junto (, calls stouts one of his favorite styles of beer. His recommendations for a cold night are: Pike XXXXX Extra Stout, Laughing Dog’s The Dogfather, and Great Divide’s Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti. Generally Steve tries to end a tasting session with a stout. He also points out that, though stouts are considered winter beers by many, you can drink and enjoy them year-round.

So, let’s recap: stouts and porters are very similar. They both come from the same era and area of England. There are a number of delicious styles and you can drink them year round. What more do you need to know? Now, go out to your local pub, watering hole, or retailer and find yourself a great porter or stout to warm your innards during the frigid winter months here in Florida. But, if the weather should change, no worries these beers are quaffable anytime of the year.

Until next time, long live the brewers!


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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Beer, Beer Styles, Beer Tasting


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