The Sticky Icky
By Evan George and Alex Brown
The Summer of the Can continues. You remember the metal vessel that, for most kids' high school years, was the definitive method of putting beer in one's body? Whether "shot-gunning" in someone's backyard using a car key to punch an air hole for chugging in seconds, or lined up in a magnificent row in a party fridge, the can always seemed more palatable to us as young drinkers. The bottle, on the other hand, somehow seemed too luxurious, adult, and even snobby with its green-tinted curves. Well, thanks to Oskar Blues, the Colorado-based brewery we recently praised for canning their brews, we're reverting.
Luckily, the Lyons, Colo. facility also pipes its Gordon Double India Pale Ale into metal canisters (along with their Chubb's Scotch Ale and Dale's Pale Ale). Now, finding a pale ale in can form is one thing—but a strong and piney IPA is something different entirely. And don't judge a can by its cover: At first glance, Gordon's looks more like a fancy ginger ale or a sparkling New York seltzer than a legit beer. But we welcome that. It makes for supremely easy outdoor summer boozing, even if you're at a public swimming pool or state beach. We suspect it could be the most appropriate camping beer in America. Three weekends in a row, we've toted this brew to pool parties to can-smashing success.
Once popped, the fizzy but headless liquid trapped inside will dribble into the can top, where you detect a rich, red-gold velvet soda. The can says "Big. Red. Sticky." And that's fair. Sniff the top and you get whiffs of pine needles, even Pine-Sol—clean, bright and slightly metallic. The maple-brown sugar hints, and to a slighter degree, toasted malt sweetness, are higher in this IPA than most, nearly cloyingly sweet, which makes for a noticeably less gulpy beer. Eminently sluggable, but not quite chuggable. Drink hard enough and there are tastes of grass and grains. A lot of spritzy bubbles make it a little less food-friendly—we recommend it with sunshine and an empty stomach. Gordon's stands among some of the better Double IPAs, though we'd prefer a more complexly hopped concoction given the choice. It's the can that gives it an edge. As some have noted, the aluminum shield keeps this kind of beer from skunking. And makes it easier to stay cool in the sun. And feels icy in your palm. Unlike our friend Dave's more proper advice, however, we can't bring ourselves to pour this stuff into glassware or drink it on tap. Then it's just any other sticky icky red-ale IPA. In its metal, it shines.
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