Saturday, August 11, 2012
Oskar Blues Brewing GUBNA Imperial IPA Review
I'm not sure whether it's an acronym or not but the name of this beer appears to be GUBNA, not the mostly lower-cased spelling, "Gubna". A web search couldn't confirm this and neither did a brief tour of their website. Anyway, I'm in a hurry with no more time for research, so just hope your bartender understands phonetics and your order of this should arrive at your hand without incident. As for the beer, I credit Josh for supplying a can of this at a recent backyard barbecue. It's from a Colorado brewer that has dived head first into the ever-crowded Chicago beer market's maw. Oskar Blues is most noted for being the first craft brewer to can their beers. Cans are understood to be better beer preservers than even the darkest bottles. It would figure that this beer's aluminum casing would be ideal; after all, it's an IPA which, by genre, is robust-but-fragile, with aging as its kryptonite.
The can preserved this quite well. One whiff is entirely telling of an IPA's freshness, and the hops assaulted the nose with immediacy, along with a lot of sugar. A pale orange color embodies this and it's easy to conjure up a substantial head given its strong carbonation. Those bubbles help deliver the bite along with tropical, citrusy hops atop a bed of powdered sugar. Gradually, hops stack up on your tongue until the palate is saturated. The mouthfeel is a perfect tropical-IPA texture, south of medium-bodied. It glides along the palate nicely and helps make this, like most IPA's, a fine summer drink. GUBNA finishes less profoundly than does its comparators, Avery's DuganA and Deschutes Hop Henge.
That reminds me of the Olympics. I've watched a lot of coverage this year for some reason. Maybe it's the star power of Michael Phelps and his "rivalry" with Ryan Lochte. Maybe its Usain Bolt and his dynamic feats. Maybe its the - ahem - U.S. women's track team. But I've watched a lot and have been on the listen for "The Star-Spangled Banner" as much as possible. NBC hasn't shown performances of it very much despite our massive number of golds. But this beer reminds me of a Bolt race I saw, the 200m dash, in which Bolt pulled away from the pack quickly with his impossible stride length. He seems like a 7-footer running against kids. There's this one white guy in the race who got immediately dusted, falling behind as quickly as Bolt pulled ahead. Its funny because this guy was giving it everything he had, thrusting himself forward with his face muscles as if two drooling Dobermans were gaining on him, yet he barely stayed in the same wide-angle lens with Bolt who was threatening to lap him.
Well, that's the GUBNA. Just like Last Place Dude, in a backyard footrace against high school buddies he creams the competition. And if this is the only IPA on tap at some small-town tavern near your bed-and-breakfast, it's veritably a souped-up performance car. But put it up against heavyweights like DuganA and Hop Henge and it gets lapped. It may not make it to the podium but it leads in one category: alcohol, which is a whopping 10%.
3.9 of 5 stars.