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