Old Chicago is giving Colorado beer lovers a brief and deliciously bitter taste of something they've only been able to get previously at Oskar Blues locations.
Starting on Wednesday, January 26, the restaurant chain's 27 Colorado locations will begin pouring Deviant Dale's IPA, a twice-as-hoppy version of the brewery's flagship beer, Dale's Pale Ale. Brewed with four kinds of hops, Deviant is then dry-hopped with a fifth. "It's kind of like Dale's big brother," says Oskar Blues spokesman Chad Melis. "We've only been making it for two years, but it's a cult favorite. And it fits the current craze in what the consumer wants, with it being so hoppy."
But since Oskar Blues is only making fifty barrels of the stuff -- roughly 85 kegs -- it will likely run out long before the February 14 cut-off date.
"It's a cool collaboration of Colorado companies," Melis says. And Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis has a history with Old Chicago, which is part of the Louisville-based Rock Bottom group, having worked for the company in Longmont.
It's also a collaboration that marks a slight change in strategy for both companies.
This is the first time Oskar Blues has brewed a small batch for a restaurant outside of its own establishments, Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids and the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, and one of the first times the brewery has allowed one of its non-core brands off the premises. Oskar Blues has focused on making and canning Dale's, Old Chub, Gordon (which will soon be renamed G'Knight), Mama's Little Yella Pils, Ten FIDY and Gubna.
In the past few weeks, however, firkins of unusual Oskar Blues beers have turned up at Hops & Pie, and more may be on their way to other places in the future.
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As for Old Chicago, it has plunged back into the keg of craft beer relevancy over the past few months by teaming up with several local brewers to offer special, limited-release, one-off beers at its Colorado locations. At the end of last year, it featured Buddha's Hand from Breckenridge and Colorado IPA Nouveau from Tommyknocker.
"We want to keep them on the cutting edge of being a beer-centric restaurant," Melis says. "It will add to the craft-beer culture of Colorado."