Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s: The Phantom Menace of Beers

I was just about six years old when the original Star Wars movie was released, and it made a big impression on me.  I collected the figures, coveted the playsets, and marveled that I could have actual images from the big screen in my pocket (I had complete set of trading cards).  The movie was so well-balanced; it had an epic storyline and blockbuster special effects, set against flawed characters that were complex enough to make you feel like what you saw on the screen was meaningful.  I was all-in with Star Wars as a kid, I even enjoyed the Ewoks.

Then George Lucas had to go and break my heart with The Phantom Menace.  Sure it sounded good on paper – the prequel to the original Star Wars Trilogy, where we’d get to see Vader’s origin story, witness the Clone Wars Obi Wan was always going on about, etc.  Even better, it was an opportunity to spend more time in the Star Wars universe I so adored as a kid.  What could possibly go wrong?

Jar Jar. That wooden boy who one-noted his portrayal of Anakin.  The fact that they killed off the hotter of the two Queen Amadalas (the decoy played by Keira Knighty). The battle where the Gungans fumble their way to victory.  All that Senate talking.  All that other Senate talking.  More Senate talking.  It was worse than bad – it was totally out of whack.  The balance and humanity that made the original so engaging was totally absent.

Which brings me to Deviant Dale’s.  I finally got my hands on a four pack of this stuff, eager to taste the pumped-up version of my favorite Pale Ale.  The reason the original Dale’s has taken up permanent residence in my beer fridge (and my beer geek heart) is because of its spot-on balance.  It’s hoppy for sure, but there’s a perfect malt backbone that adds a fullness and sweetness to the brew that makes it a treat every time I crack open a can.  No matter my mood or what my palate desires, Dale’s always finds a way to please me.  Like the original Star Wars films, it always brings me to my happy place.

Deviant Dales does not – it only disappoints, just like The Phantom Menace.  Both are off balance, in the case of Deviant Dales, it’s all the hops they cram into the thing.  It’s kind of like drinking a slightly more pleasant version of stomach bile.  The hops are so acidic and biting, they totally overpower the malts in the brew, making this beer more of an assault on your senses than an awesome beer turned up to 11.  I’ve had a number of well-balanced, super-hoppy Imperial IPAs that I’ve enjoyed immensely, but unfortunately this is not one of them.

Every time I watch the Phantom Menace, I grimace at how bad the film is – my downgraded expectations don’t make it any better.  The same is true for Deviant Dale’s, even after I adjusted my preconceived notions of the beer, each of the four cans I sampled over the course of a week still made me wince a bit upon that first sip.  I know some people love this beer (you can also find rave reviews of The Phantom Menace on the interwebs), but for me this one’s a flop, made worse by the fact that it’s the sequel to something I hold dear.

I guess you can’t win them all, but in the case of both Deviant Dale’s and The Phantom Menace (and the two movies that followed it), I have a simple question for Oskar Blues and George Lucas:  Why are you messing with a classic?

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Categories: Beer, review


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44 Comments on “Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s: The Phantom Menace of Beers”

  1. BeerBanker
    June 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Ach Laddie, you’ve gone all wrong now…The DD is an Imperial version of little d and should be viewed as such. There’s no more of an obnoxious “first bite of bitterness” than with most other West Coast big hoppy beers. DD is just a very amped up (hops AND malt) version of LIttle d. As such, little d is a great “lawnmower” beer and DD is a wonderful “sit on the porch and watch the world go by” beer.

    • June 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      I disagree. I can list more than a few wonderful Imperial IPA’s that strike the balance of malt and hops, and this isn’t one of them. Deviant Dales is somewhere inbetween Dales and a full-blown monster IIPA, lacking the gravity to back up that hop bite, creating a beer that’s thin, bitter and unpleasant. Kind of like a Naomi Campbell…

  2. June 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    You think Kiera Knightley was the hotter of the two Amidalas? You, sir, are clearly mistaken!

    • June 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Portman has a girl-next-door quality, like the hottest girl you can actually GET, but Keira Knightly is an exquisite creature…

  3. John King
    June 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Thank you for agreeing with me.

    • June 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      It was easy to do – this beer made me miserable. What is it with OB and imperial beers?!

      • June 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

        Not a fan of TenFidy or G’Knight either?

        • johnking82
          June 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

          Love me some Ten Fidy.

        • June 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

          Love TenFidy, and I think Gordon…I mean Knight Rider or whatever (please don’t sue me Mr. Biersch) is okay, but I’ve never fallen in love with it. I should have said that I don’t like OB’s Imperial hoppy offerings. They do big hops in a way that I don’t like I guess.

      • June 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

        You mean how awesome they are?

        • June 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

          I love most of what OB does, with the exception of this stuff (bag of weed is right) and Gubna, which is also a mess. When I said “Imperial” I should have said hop bombs.

  4. tronto
    June 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    tasted like cat piss that had been marinated on green onions. John King liked it, but he’s a piss drinker…

    • June 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      I like green onion, and enjoy cat piss as well. But put them together, and it’s NO THANK YOU, MISTER!

  5. tronto
    June 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    actually I take that back he didn’t like the batch I had, but liked a different batch he had got.

    • June 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Hmmm. Now I’m wondering if I got a “cat piss” batch of the stuff…

    • June 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      “I lost the hole there for a little bit.” Been there, buddy.

      • June 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

        That’s the second video I’ve seen today where some asshat was chugging a craft beer that he’d never tasted before. Fer cryin’ out loud, at least pour it in a glass and see what it looks and smells like before you throw it down yer gullet. (Stupid shits!)

        • June 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

          But he’s OUR stupid shit!

          Plus, I feel the redneck chug review is a kind of artistic expression, one that pokes fun at the sanctity of craft beer while mocking (but at the same time embracing) the simple tradition of trying to get f’d up as quickly as possible. It’s both ridiculous and a social statement of sorts.

          God, reading that back, you’d think I was a NY art snob gazing at The Kramer!

        • June 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

          Go fuck yourself. I’d had it about 10 times previous to that. Eat my asshole.

        • June 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

          Brilliant repartee!

        • June 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

          I know, right? Explaining that I’ve had the beer many a time and not treating “craft beer” like it’s some sort of art form that changes the world every fucking day. Go out and drink some beers and stop being a pussy about it. It’s you I’m making fun at. Yeah, I shotgunned a TenFidy to. A fucking 2010. After it had aged. And I’ve got a shitpile of fucking imperial stouts that are probably too hot for you sitting in my cabinet. And I’ll probably drink them out of the wrong glassware. And they’ll still be really fucking good.

        • June 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm #


        • June 8, 2012 at 9:36 am #

          Well I do owe you an apology Dude since you had already tasted it. I was already ticked about the so-called tasting video and made an invalid assumption. So, in this case, I’m the stupid shit.

          As for drinking beer, I do, every day, and I’ve been drinking Irish whiskey–straight–most of my adult life. I also drink brandy, single malt and bourbon straight.

          But I like my beer to be refreshing not hot–my choice. I also like to savor them. Hell, if I were gonna shotgun or guzzle beer I’d drink the crappy stuff since I wouldn’t get to really taste it anyway. And I don’t give a rats-ass about glassware except that it not be chilled and that it have a wide enough mouth that I can get my nose into it. But in my not-so-humble-opinion, shotgunning is a waste of good beer, something you’d expect to see at a frat party. Its your choice man, but I don’t see it.

          Oh, btw, after 40 years working w/ the military, I’m less than impressed with the invective–I’ve heard it all, many times over.

  6. June 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I hated the Phantom Menace, but love Deviant Dale’s. The lack of balance in some IPAs is a desirable trait, I think, when the objective is to deliver an eye-watering hop bomb. I guess our expectations for this beer may have been different. I would have been disappointed if it was just a ramped up version of Dale’s. Oh well, more for me, then!

    • June 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Yeah, I think I don’t like how Oskar Blues does hop bombs. I didn’t like Gubna, and this is awful as well (to me). Of course, if they would’ve called it Gubanator or something instead of marrying it to Dales, my expectations and disappointment would be different.

      Just look at Howard the Duck. That’s a Lucas film that’s not Star Wars which sucked, but who cares? it’s about a duck.

      • June 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

        An interesting question might be: What is your “The Empire Strikes Back” of beer? (A beer that end up surpassing your established favorite from a given brewer.)

        • June 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

          (but one you didn’t know was better until you gained more experience and realized not everything should end on a happy note). You forgot to add that part.

        • June 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

          To answer your question, any beer I’ve pretty much ever had that was later offered aged in oak barrels, or better yet, whiskey barrels.

          The Empire Strikes Back is essentially the barrel-aged beer of the Star Wars films.

  7. June 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    I didn’t dislike the DD as much as you did, but much prefer the original. I also had my first taste of their Little Yellow Pils–on tap–yesterday. A very nice beer. As for Ten-fidy, too hot-tasting for me (the alcohol). I much prefer Schlafly’s Extra Stout, which at 8% is still relatively high on the ABV scale, but it doesn’t come across as hot the way Ten-fidy does.

    BTW: Just had a new (to me) beer at lunch. Its called Intercourse Brewing Co’s Blueball Porter, a smoked porter w/ natural blueberry flavor. I don’t usually go for flavored beers but the smokiness offset the blueberry pretty well. It has a very nice pour and excellent nose. Although Ratebeer gave it a mere 58, I found it eminently drinkable and would probably drink it again.

    • June 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      I just stumbled across a sixer of Schlafly Irish Stout yesterday and almost ruined the carton grabbing it off the shelf so quickly. I love that stuff.

      I’ll pass on the Blueball – I get enough of that already! 🙂

  8. John
    June 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    “barrel aged is the Empire Strikes Back of Beers”. I may have to borrow that line in the future.

    • June 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Oh, I forgot something:

      Barrel aged is the Empire Strikes Back of Beers ™

      That’s better! 🙂

  9. June 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Star Wars was OK. Ewoks suck. Phantom Menace was awful. Dale’s Pale is great. Deviant Dale’s is a Columbus hop-bomb dankfest that rocks the party (I wasn’t expecting harmonious balance when I tied into it, but found the malt to suffice). I can see how some people would not like it, though. Super strong Columbus hops can be divisive. And you’re sort of a slight little fella’. So maybe that’s it. 🙂

    • June 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      What do you mean SLIGHT?! I’m 6’5″ 220!!

      But yet, I’m delicate.


      • June 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

        Hmmm. I stand corrected. Perhpas my perception is thrown off because I have only seen you in videos next to Don.

  10. June 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Try another 4 pack! Something’s awry.

  11. June 8, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Ah, Jim. Have a read of this one. Written before OB released DD, so that is not on the list. However, I do agree that batches of beers, especially those from OB tend to differ each time. We had a couple of cases of Dale’s that were quite thin and unpleasant. Luckily we know some of the brewers there and were able to pass on some feedback.


    • June 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      You better hope I never find your address…your beer fridge will be barren!

  12. June 8, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    OB has a tendency to fluctuate the quality of their beer in different batches. We had a couple of cases of Dale’s that were thin. Luckily, we know some of the brewers there and were able to let them know!

    Jim – this will whet your whistle. http://randomwanderingthoughts.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/mmmmmm-beer/

    • June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      Sorry I didn’t approve your comment above quickly enough – you double posted! No worries from here on out – once approved you’ll no longer be filtered…

  13. DanR
    June 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m on my second 4-pack of DD’s, the first was amazing, this one isn’t balanced right, too sweet, not enough hops. A little disappointed with the variability, especially as OB is one of my favorites. I miss living in CO and mountain biking with those dudes.

    • June 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      I guess when they dubbed it “Deviant” they weren’t talking about attitude, rather quality control.

  14. June 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Tonight was my first time trying Deviant Dale’s, and I have to say I’m in beer love. As a serious hop head, Deviant Dale’s takes DPA and bumps it up a peg or two!

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