Even today there exists a stigma surrounding craft beer in cans. They would have you believe that glass equals class and that the aluminum structure will impart metallic off-flavors or some other such bunkum and balderdash.

Enter stage left Dale Katechis from Oskar Blues Brewery. Founded in 1997 in Lyons, Colo. as a brewpub and releasing its first canned craft beer, Dale’s Pale Ale, in 2002 Oksar Blues seemed dead set on changing the way the world. Surely there were others canning before them. However, where others failed Oskar Blues remained steadfast. Someone needed to show that these heavy, breakable, and UV penetrable vessels were obsolete remnants of a bygone era. So successful were they in that mission that all of their distributed beers are now packaged in cans.

Oskar Blues Barrel Aged G'Knight crowler

G’Knight was originally named “Gordon” in honor of Gordon Knight, an early pioneer in the Colorado craft beer scene. The beer was renamed after Oskar Blues recieved a cease and desist order from the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group. All in the craft beer world owe a bit of gratitude to Gordon Knight so toast your next brew in honor and read more about his story at this website. The barrel-aged version uses barrels from Breckenridge Distillery.

Not content to simply bask in the glory of such well done work they soon aligned their crosshairs upon glass Growlers with the introduction of the Crowler in 2012. A 32-ounce can filled and sealed right before your very eyes. Admittedly, this is my first experience with a Crowler and lucky I am as it is filled with something very special. Barrel Aged G’Knight.

Oskar Blues G’Knight is described by the brewery as an imperial red IPA and it looks every bit the part as it is poured into a Spiegelau tulip. Crystal clear and dark blood red sporting a one and a half finger head of beige tinge it is without a doubt a downright gorgeous beer to peer one’s eyes at. Maintaining carbonation in crowlers is clearly not something to be concerned about as this Barrel Aged G’knight was still quite effervescent and lively.1

Oskar Blues Barrel Aged G'Knight

Upon closer inspection the olfactory system is blasted with sweet caramel, toffee, vanilla as well as a hefty bite of charred and boozy oak. The barrel treatment to this beer does not dance near the threshold. In fact, it would be more akin to the Kool-Aid guy busting through the proverbial wall that is your palate. Hops are nowhere to be found which is a disappointment considering it is an imperial red IPA. Taste is mainly charred oak and a lingering boozy burn that overpowers any sweetness lying underneath the heavy body. A slight miss by a veteran brewery but not wholly unpleasant.

Oskar Blues Barrel Aged G'Knight
BREWERY: Oskar Blues Brewery
LOCATION: Longmont, Colo.
STYLE: Imperial red IPA
ABV: 8.7 percent
IBU: 60
PRICE: $18 (32-ounce crawler)
RELEASE DATE: 2013
AVAILABLE IN: Draft
BEERS POURED: Two
Overall it is an enjoyable beer but misses the mark for a barrel aged imperial red IPA. There is no detectable hop character left in the beer which is a shame considering how fantastically hoppy the base beer is. The oak element is out of balance though not unpleasant. Just overpowering to the point of masking any complementary flavors that may be hiding out in the fringes.
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