08 February 2010

Beer Week: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

A week of beer reviews deserves a design that looks it was ripped off an Ohio Brauhaus that had been marred by decades of cigarette smoke. Thus, the Benito's Beer Week logo.

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Recently I've had the opportunity to try a lot of independent beers, so this whole week is devoted to beer reviews. And there's enough good beer and beer media (just wait!) to fill up five days this week, so check back Tuesday and Thursday if you're interested but normally only read MWF.

As always, this does not signal a change of theme here--I've done dozens of beer reviews, and other winebloggers like Fredric are getting in on the action. There's a lot to appreciate in good quality beer, and it's a fun change of pace after reviewing a lot of wine.

Let's kick off this Bierwoche with a curious brew I received as a sample: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, 12 oz. 10.5% abv, 98 IBUs. Made in Lyons, Colorado, this is notable for being a serious "big beer" that's packaged in a can instead of a bottle. Oskar Blues does this both to protect the beer from light damage and for the environmental benefits (easier recycling, lower shipping weight, less space required, etc.).

This is a powerful Imperial Stout that has a very bitter profile with very few of the sweet elements you see in some implementations. Coffee and chocolate dominate the nose and palate. It's thick and dark with a rich brown head, and a hint of burnt orange peel that's very enchanting. Drink this at room temperature after dinner. Treat it like Port; I think it's far too strong to consume with a meal, and you won't be able to appreciate it as much.

I tried it both in the brandy snifter pictured above and straight from the can--definitely go with the snifter, or a wine glass. I mean, yeah, you can drink it from the can, but you're not going to get any of the experience of swirling and sniffing between sips. Just because it's in a can doesn't mean you have to drink it like that. We rarely drink straight from wine bottles. At least, not in public.

The website features a detailed location directory which will let you know specific stores and bars serving their products. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other interesting cans like the amusingly named "Mama's Little Yella Pils".

This beer was received as a sample from Oskar Blues. In full disclosure of other gifts, I received some awesome stickers.


fredric koeppel said...

That's interesting that a beer would be too strong to drink with dinner and it should be treated like a Port. I mean, if a beer is so strong, doesn't it need food to balance it? Sometimes writers will mention "big alcohol" zinfandels and say, "Too big for a dinner wine; sip it as an aperitif." But huge, ripe, jammy wines are impossible to sip by themselves and really require food to put them in their place.

Benito said...


It's not really the alcohol content. The beer is... I don't want to say syrupy, but it's a bit viscous like Port, and the flavor is as strong as espresso. You might wish to nibble on a cookie or something, but I'd even hesitate to pair it with a cheese, because you're not going to be able to taste the cheese at all.

I guess a wine analogue would be something really rich like Cognac. I love it, but wouldn't want to drink a whole glass of it while I'm eating dinner. Afterward? Bring it on!


Scott-TheBrewClub said...

Oskar Blues makes some very interesting beers and its sort of a novelty in the craft-beer world being in cans.

Cans do have all the benefits you mentioned, but I think many people still get the wrong idea about beer in cans. Its often associated with lesser-quality beer from people's past!

10 fiddy, just like the motor oil!

Benito said...


At least it's somewhat of an easier sell than the switch to screwcaps or plastic bottles for wine.

Canned wine exists, but isn't often considered as a serious alternative to traditional bottles.