Oskar Blues Brewery is grabbing 2016 by the horns, gearingup to release Deviant Dale’s IPA in January – the first seasonal incarnation ofa beer that has been in the brewery’s core lineup since 2012. Fans of thebrew, previously accustomed to year-round availability, are eagerly awaitingthe release. “This year’s Deviant is worth the wait,” said Tim Matthews, Headof Brewing Operations. “Fans will be very pleased when they get it – it’s backto its roots.”
Those roots grew out of a happy accident. Deviant Dale’s IPAwas first created when the wrong bag of grain was used in a batch of Dale’sPale Ale. When the brewers realized the mistake, they took their blooper instride, resolving to salvage the brew. They fixed it up with a liberaldry-hopping and the result was impishly good.
This beast of a beer had serious potential, so the OBB teamtested subsequent batches on a willing group of guinea pigs – regulars at OskarBlues Grill & Brew in Lyons. “Lyons folk are gritty extremists,” laughedMatthews. They urged the brewers to make the beer more intense, bigger,hoppier, and generally more badass with each batch. The brewers complied,stirring the mash with a pitchfork over a raging fire and the screams of theeternally damned (or so one could imagine).
After years of tweaking, the 2011 version of Deviant Dale’sIPA won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in theAmerican-style India Pale Ale category – widely regarded as the contest’s mostcompetitive class. The award-winning beer quickly became a year-round staple,available in a 16-ounce can. Screaming in at 8% ABV and 85 IBUs, it was a big,cloven-hoofed beer in a monster-sized can.
In recent years, Deviant Dale’s IPA evolved slightly. Thepunchy, floral Centennial hops that are a keystone of the recipe werechallenging to get due to limited supply. They’re simultaneously finicky togrow and variable in yield – basically the prima donna of hops. DeviantDale’s remained devilishly good, maintaining an impressive Rate Beer score of90 and attracting a cult following of craft beer drinkers.
So why did OBB decide to make Deviant Dale’s IPA a seasonaloffering this year? Brewing seasonally will allow OBB to use the qualityand quantity of Centennial hops that is expected from Deviant Dale’s IPA. “The hops for this season’s brew are insanely fresh. In fact, they werepelletized just weeks ago. We’re taking advantage of a small window [fromwhich] we can get optimal flavors,” explained Matthews. “This beer loves to befresh.”
The 2016 embodiment of Deviant Dale’s is expected to becitrusy, spicy, and dank; with less vegetable-like tones than in recent years.Floral, aromatic Centennial hops and herbal Columbus team up to slap you on thetongue. Big, bold, and revamped, Deviant Dale’s will storm onto shelves in anew 12-ounce can in January, perfect for colder months as it has, as Matthewssays, “an intense warming aspect” – the polite way of saying a taste ofsweet, sweet hellfire.
Is your New Year’s resolution to be a little more Deviant?Check the Oskar Blues Brewery BeerFinder to locate Deviant Dale’s IPA near you.