I attended a homebrew club meeting this last Friday and there was one beer that was discussed but not present at the meeting. One of the guys raved about a new name from Oskar Blues, namely Pinner Throwback IPA. He said he could drink that beer all day long. Others who were familiar with the beer agreed. I had nothing to say because I had never tried it, but it got me very interested in trying it.
It seems to me that there are trends in the beer culture. Initially, IPAs were all the rage, the hopper the better. Next came black IPAs with the Carafa malt that lent the dark color and cut the hop bitterness a bit. Today we have the session IPAs being snatched up off the shelves as well as sour beers. Personally, I don’t understand all the fuss about sour beer. If I was so daft as to want a sour beer, I’d pour a shot of vinegar in a PBR. Then I’d dump it down the drain.
Session IPAs seem to be hit or miss. Either they’re water beer with hops, or light beer with some hops. There are thousands of beers with more alcohol but there’s a place and a time for them. Have a few… go to bed. The session beers are for outdoors when you’re with friends all day and don’t want to get stupid by 7 p.m. They’re still beer but with low alcohol so as not to sap one’s stamina. There’s an occasion for each type of beer.
Based on what was discussed at the homebrew club meeting, I set out to score some Oskar Blues Pinner session IPA. It would be interesting to taste a beer that, until the recent past, wasn’t in any style guidelines. Today they seem to be falling off the shelves.
Pinner is interesting in the fact that it’s a shout-out to a cousin of hops and that would be cannabis. “Like a lot of our beers, the hop character and the aroma has always reminded people of cannabis,” Dale Katechis said. “The cannabis plant and flower and the hop flower, they’re both in the family of cannabaceae, and the aromas are very similar.” However, there is no cannabis in this beer.
Some clever statements are printed on the can. “Can I be Blunt?” and “Sip, sip, give” instead of “Puff, puff, pass.” An article about Pinner is in The Cannabist for further reading right here. And finally, a “pinner” is a small rolled marijuana joint with very little marijauna in it. There’s the similarity. Sounds more like something that Lagunitas would do.
Let us begin.
The beer poured a beautiful yellow color and was crystal clear all the way through. The foam head was a brilliant white and very thick. Carbonation was rather vigorous. The aroma was slight and smelled of sweet hoppiness.
The first sip was delightful. A somewhat medium mouthfeel was followed by really nice citrus flavors. And then it was gone. I picked up some notes of grapefruit and maybe a little pineapple. The beer was a pleasure to drink. The beer also left a nice lacing inside the glass.
The hops in the beer are prevalent but pulled back from blasting the uvula and other throat tissues. But yes, it had plenty of hops but not really Zombie Dust monster hops where they attack the throat. This beer was, for lack of a better term, nice. It was extremely drinkable. When Oskar set out to make a session IPA, he hit the nail on the head with this laid back concoction.
The hop flavors are from two sides of the spectrum, the yellow citrus and the red tropical. Not too much of either but just enough of both. The OB website claims the beer has 35 IBUs and I’d say that was perfect for the malt base.
There is enough of a malt base to make the beer not taste watered down at all. It was a perfectly thought out recipe to make for great taste and easy drinking. This Pinner is not like a shandy. It’s an actual beer with malts and hops and no fruit juice.
Weighing in at 4.9% alcohol, Pinner is a perfect summer session beer, easily swilled all afternoon into the evening without much trouble. Of course, your mileage may vary, so choose wisely. The beer is available all year round. Keep that in mind during your next bottle shop visit.
I’d venture to say that Pinner is in the top five on any list of session IPAs anywhere. I’d even say that I’d prefer it over Founders All Day IPA. It’s just that good. Pinner will help you enjoy your summer a lot more.
Style: Session India Pale Ale
Taste: Deliciousness in every sip.
Smoothness: Surprisingly easy going down.
Drinkability: Very drinkable, perhaps all day.
Bang for the buck: On a par with other beers of this style.
Amount paid: $9.99 per sixpack of 12-ounce cans.
Get it again? Why yes, I shall.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: It’s light. (sniff) Bitter citrus. (sip) I want to say grapefruit. Like the yellow grapefruit. (sip) It’s not bad. Pretty decent. Probably good on a really hot day. (Looks like she nailed it this time.)
Sip, sip, give [2:20]
Oskar Blues – 10 years of craft beer [7:14]