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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IPAs and More IPAs: Oskar Blues Gubna

Latest in my line-up of IPAs is newly-released Gubna from Oskar Blues. (Don't get the joke? Say it with an English accent.) My neighbor-across-the-street gifted me a can, which I discovered on my porch a couple weeks ago. Perhaps he knew I was doing a series on IPAs. So, guv, how does this Colorado brew stand up?

Let us start with a fruit known as the durian. Those of you who have traveled in Asia may have encountered it--or laws that ban it. Durians have a stronger smell than any fruit on earth, and it is complex, driving some to dances of ecstasy and others to the nearest exit. Among the flavor compounds are esters and ketones, which brewing geeks will recognize from their hop lessons, and they emit aromas that vary from onion to turpentine and cheese to skunk.

Why am I bothering to invoke the chemistry of this obscure Asian fruit? Because Gubna uses 100 IBUs of Summit hops (and only Summits), and I'm still having flashbacks of the time Sally and I tried to get a durian from Hilo to Kona in the trunk of our rental car.

This beer is undrinkable. It is foul. It is nasty. I try to sneak up for a sip and recoil from the barest hint of the wafting aroma. To my nose, it is a concentrated essence of onion and chive, as if you accidentally opened an industrial vat of Lays Sour Cream and Onion powder--or stumbled across a durian. I could literally consume only two sips of this before it repelled me from getting within six inches of the glass. Okay, eighteen.

Of course, the human nose does not perceive things uniformly, and not everyone has this reaction to Summits. If you read through the entry at BeerAdvocate, only one in ten readers even mentions it--and it's getting a B overall. Others go on and on about grapefruit rinds. Which, to my nose, is like talking about the other fruit sitting next to a durian--it may be there, but how would you know? I guess if you can't smell the onions, it's a pretty sweet beer.

Almost never do I dump an entire beer. This one not only went down the drain, but I flushed it with water and waved around a cross while praying for complete exorcism.

In sum: I hated Gubna; you should definitely try it.

PHOTO: The Sun Never Sets


  1. Are you sure your can was fresh/in good condition?

  2. I have heard similar reviews as yours, Jeff. That is why I have stayed away from Gubby. One of my favorite hoppy brewers, Shawn from Barley Browns said it tasted like beef stew with lots of vegetables. Mmmm. I brought a bottle of 1000 IBU from Mikkeller from the East Coast. Not sure if it is out here yet. Want to share?

  3. There is certainly something to be said for balance. Brewers seem to forget this fairly often when brewing IPAs, more so than when brewing most styles.

  4. Akahn, absolutely. It was in perfect condition--this was all Summit funk. (And actually, that's one of the benefits to cans--they protect a beer better.)

    Angelo and Soggy, I encourage you both to try the beer. If nothing else, it's an amazing experience. Definitely worth the couple bucks, even if you hate it like I did. And you'll NEVER mistake Summits again.

    What's this 1000 IBU thing? Do you mean hundred?

  5. Yum, can't wait to try it..... not. But your article does beg an interesting question: Is there such a thing as a Dorian fruit cocktail? If so, is it disgusting?

  6. oh lol...

    "... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away."

  7. Jeff:

  8. I agree! Had it recently and that beer is just not right.

  9. I was reminded of this post when drinking the Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA at the OBF yesterday. That's apparently an all-Citra beer, and I couldn't stand it. It was just terrible. To my recollection, it's the only beer I've ever dumped out at one of the brew festivals. Maybe I just hate Citra hops? I don't know.

  10. There was a bad harvest of Summit going around. It's normally an orange/pine flavor.