This beer is part of a nice episode in the on going beer quest. JTW and I spent that day at the National Archives in Adelphia, MD volunteering on a project to make archival materials available over the internet. As a reward we decided to check out Franklins, a brew pub, pourhouse, restaurant and general store about ten minutes from the archives.
We had an excellent meal with set of beers ranging from acceptable to exceptional. JTW took notes on the beers, I left my notebook in the car. Either he can post his detailed tasting thoughts on the brews we tried or, well, we have an excuse to go back.
Afterwards, for a lark, we decided to check out the general store. It reminded me of the rustic tourist trap embedded in Aunt Sarah’s and Cracker Barrel at first glance. The merch, though, was a bit more hipster chic than the rustic surroundings led on. Kicky kitchen implements and deco tchotchkes. We lucked into a treasure trove of beer hidden from view in the corner.
By quantity the cooler cases and shelves weren’t much bigger than my local wine & beer but the variety was well beyond it, even despite recent improvements in the availability of craft beers in my county. I snagged a bomber of Stone’s barley wine (still unopened as I write this) and a four pack of this beer. The labeling is enigmatic, to say the least. Some of the text on the can hints at an altogether different kind of hop as being the purpose of the beer though that was not the case on opening and tasting.
Rather, it is an homage to a well known and well liked brewer, Gordon Knight. Knight was by all account a helluva a brewer though you had to be local to have tasted his creations. He also was a vet and a helicopter pilot. He passed away flying a helicopter to help fight a forest fire back in 2002 and is still missed by those who knew him.
- Name: Gordon Ale
- Brewery: Oskar Blues
- Style: Imperial Red/Double IPA (Category 23, BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines)
- Alcohol: 8.7%
- IBUs: 60
- Serving: 12oz can poured into a pint glass
(Also in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy.)
- Appearance: 8 – Dark gold tending towards dark amber. Thick head that laces as you drink.
- Aroma: 7 – Strong hop note, possibly cascade. Very typical for American pale ales so a bit surprising in a red ale. The merest hint of the malts. The aroma sets the expectations for this beer.
- Taste: 8 – Way less hop bitter than the aroma implies. Light, clean, a bit of complexity but less than I was expecting. Some fruit esters in the palate. The malt comes out in the finish which is sticky as advertised in the form of being a bit cloying over the course of the beer. The malt sweet becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.
- Mouth Feel: 6 – Somewhat silky, sticky in the finish after a few sips rather than right away, as it sits on the tongue. Mildly effervescent despite the vigorous carbonation apparent in the pour.
- Holistic: 8 – I haven’t had any of Gordon Knight’s beers for comparison but I did feel a bit let down. This overall was more like a double pale ale, a good one, than any red or amber I’ve had. It didn’t have as much of the characteristic malt I was expecting being overpowered by the hops. Reminded me of the Devil’s Milk on a good way but I was expecting more as with that beer, too.
- Overall: 37 – Enjoyable but not the beer I was expecting. A distinctive but not too far from typical American pale ale or double pale ale. I would have liked more of what I’d expect from a red ale or something a bit more unusual going by the description. I have had most of the four pack, now, and will admit the beer has grown on me as I’ve had more of it.