Oskar Blues’ Pinner: A Beer for Potheads

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The legend of Oskar Blues began when Dale Katechis, on maxed out credit cards, opened up a funky little music joint in the tiny town of Lyons, Colorado situated just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. “A few years later we started brewing in the basement and the beer began to gain traction,” says Katechis.  “We wanted to distribute the beer locally to advertise the restaurant and during that process we found out about a one-at-a-time tabletop filler and seamer which led us to meet the Ball Corporation and discover the advantages of cans over bottles.”

They had nothing to lose so they stuffed their voluminously hoppy Dale’s Pale Ale in a can and started taking the beer to concerts and events.  “Just doing the stuff we loved to do and introducing the beer and cans.  From there we just kept challenging the status quo and what people expected from craft beer in a can…..pretty much the same shit we do today.”

Oskar Blues’ newest beer is called Pinner. For those unaware, “pinner” is a slang term for a joint. To add to that, the tagline on the can is the tongue and cheek “Can I be Blunt”. You might be confused as to why the need for so many marijuana references. It’s not just because Mary Jane is decriminalized in Colorado. It’s also because the beer is so full of hop flavor, and hops (Humulus Lupulus) and marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) are two genera in the same family: Cannabinaceae.

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Katechis wouldn’t necessarily say marijuana smokers would specifically like this beer above all others but there are some qualities in Pinner that might seem familiar to them. “Like a lot of our beers, the hop character and the aroma has always reminded people of cannabis. That’s not to say this type of aroma wouldn’t still appeal to someone that doesn’t partake. It’s an anything goes type o’ beer.”

“Growing up, pinners were small joints,” says Katechis. “I guess the younger generations don’t really use that term, which I like. It’s a chance to give some old street slang some new life and a nod to subtle inside jokes we have fun with our beer drinkers.”

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Pinner is an IPA that begins with a huge citrus aroma that practically slaps you in the face from the first sip to the last. “It’s reminiscent of our other hoppy beers (Dales Pale Ale and G’Knight) but it’s also crushable, so you can throw back a few,” says Katechis. “It’s a get out and be active beer; it’s a beer you have on the trail for the end of a bike ride or a long hike.” Pinner fits well with Oskar Blue’s line-up of three dimensional high ABV beers. “We wanted to make sure Pinner has a considerable hop aroma but also a focus on malts and a quality mouth feel for a beer it’s size, we’re stoked about what we’ve done with it.” The beer contains eight hops. The base is Mosaic, Citra, Azacca, Eldorado, Calypso, Experimental 07270, Cascade and Centennial.

Katechis considers the beer to be somewhat of a throwback for several reasons. “It’s a throwback to the old style of IPAs that weren’t super high ABV, but we also call it that just because Pinner is real easy to ‘throwback’ a few.”