Dales is Dead: Long Live King Jack!


Those of you who have been reading B&WB for a while know that I’m a creature of habit, both in my daily routines, and in what I eat and drink.

While I’m constantly exploring the wonderful nooks and crannies of the craft beer universe, there are two beers I have kept in constant supply at my house  – my go to dark beer, New Holland Dragons Milk, and Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale, my every day IPA.

As you can see from the image above, one of my darlings has been dethroned.  Dales is dead – long live King Jack!

This change occurred before I realized anything was happening.  I’ve been a fan of Dales for a long time, first drawn to it by the novelty of a good beer in an aluminum can (we’re going back a few years here), and then staying with it because it’s a solid all-arounder.

Dales has generous malt backbone and a nice hop profile that splits “piney” and “citrusy” right down the middle.  It has a 6.5% ABV, making it not-so-boozy (at least compared to the Dragon), and it comes in cans, which makes it easier to cool, to store and take to the lake.

But Union Jack is simply a better beer.  Its malt backbone is sweeter than Dales, and its hop profile is pure citrus joy.  I have found myself reaching for it more and more at the beer store until I finally realized that it has become my hands-down favorite IPA.

Once I realized I had mentally moved on from my dear Dales, I decided to try one side-by-side with a Union Jack to see if there was any chance of trying to rekindle my relationship with my canned crush.  You can see the outcome above.  Dales was totally outclassed.

Dales was the first hoppy beer I ever truly loved and craved, my gateway into the land of IPA’s (and, yes, I know that Dales is a pale ale, not an IPA, so please don’t get all herpy-derpy about it in the comments).

Being the creature of habit that I am, it’s going to be difficult to walk past my old flame at the beer store as I scan the shelves for my new main squeeze, but we live, we love, we learn, and we change.

Goodbye Dales.  You’ll be missed.

Now where did I put that bottle opener…



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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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30 Comments on “Dales is Dead: Long Live King Jack!”

  1. April 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    You should see if you can get a can of Grapefruit Jungle when Sun King makes it again. I think it would really challenge you on this front. For me, that is a great beer. However, it is challenged by Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf, their Zombie Dust and even Dreadnaught. Sadly, 3F doesn’t make it to VT. I will have to drown my sorrows in Heady Topper or Lawson’s Finest Double Sunshine…alas. HA!

    • April 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Yes, poor you. I would buy Heady by the case if I could – it’s pretty wonderful, even after all the hype.

      I can’t get Sun King or 3F stuff in NJ, so there’s no chance that any of those will become my go-to beer (because I can’t “go to” buy them).

      • Greg H.
        April 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

        You can buy Heady by the case, it just takes a trip to VT. I usually go a few times and always time it so I can get a case (or two).

        • April 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

          You’re right – I’ll stop on my way home tonight… 🙂

      • April 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        Jim, have you had the Double Jack? Out of curiosity

        • April 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

          Yeah, a little too much Jack all at once there.

          Wookey Jack is awesome though.

    • Greg H.
      April 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Poor you, having to ‘settle for Heady Topper and Lawson’s. 🙂

      • April 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        A completely facetious “poor me” Vermont if a trove of wonderful beer. I never forget how lucky I am.

  2. Judi
    April 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    OMG, stunning news. As a loyal Dale’s lover, what can I say? As in any relationship, I guess it can be time to move on. Hyperventilating. This requires a run to the bottle shop to test your conclusion. Nervous.

    • April 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      Tasting them side by side is the most dangerous. Union Jack made Dales taste almost lifeless. 😦

      Good luck!

  3. Mickey
    April 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    I noticed the cans of Dales Pale Ale only recently, on an end display just for craft beer — may have to give this a try. My go-to IPA is Sweetwater’s, but it is not available consistently. I just tried Sam Adam’s Double Agent IPL…for India Pale Lager, maybe? It is described as a union between IPA (brewed with West Coast hops) and lager. It is smoother, thinner maybe, than IPA, and definitely has a grapefruit finish that tastes like, umm, grapefruit (duh!). It is my current infatuation and I hope it stays stocked at least through the summer, a warm weather romance!

    • April 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      I just saw the Double Agent last weekend, but picked up Summer Ale instead. Samuel Adams has so many beers coming in and out of retail it’ll make your head spin!

  4. April 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t Sculpin or Nugget Necter (I know, Imperial Red Ale). I’ve become a big fan of Revolution Anti Hero IPA.

    • April 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      I need to try Sculpin. I might’ve had it, but don’t remember it standing out.

      And I enjoy Nugget Nectar, but it’s not as sweetly satisfying as Union Jack.

      • April 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

        *braces against pre-fab wall in advance of fainting…..

        If you’ve never had Sculpin, you need to. If you’ve had it but it didn’t stand out it was out – of date.

        And that’s all I’ve got to say about that….

        • April 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

          I’ll pick one up tonight and report back my finding here.


  5. April 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Now if we can only find something that makes you stop mentioning Dragon’s Milk in every single post . . .

    I’m a big fan of Union Jack (actually anything from Firestone Walker), but Dale’s will always have a special place in my heart.

    • April 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Ha ha – yeah, I do mention it a lot. More than my wife. Hmm…

  6. BeerBanker
    April 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Shame we can’t get Firestone here in GA, ‘cept via online sellers with undated allotments. But with Oskar Blues going online just up the road in Brevard, NC, our Dale’s will be fresher than ever.

    • April 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      That’s true, and the fresher the better!

  7. April 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    IMCBAO (Craft Beer-Addled), The best Monarch won (not that Dale is a Monarch – well, you could call him Duke Dale but probably not worth it).

    I’m a huge Union Jack fan for the same reasons you pointed out. When fresh, its a stunner. Very similar to GF West Coast IPA but just slightly less hop forward. I had a fresh 6 pack in the research refrigeration unit last week. Had.


    • April 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      I really enjoy Green Flash WCIPA as well, but Union Jack is just a bit smoother and a lot cheaper. 🙂

  8. April 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    What’s funny is that I get the complete opposite from those two beers. Everyone had been raving about FW beers before they finally came here to Colorado, and I sought them out the first chance that I got; I wasn’t impressed. Everything I tried from them just seemed lacking in taste. But as we always say, that’s the joy of craft beer, there’s a beer out there for everyone’s taste.

    Could it just be that you were jaded with Dale’s? You know the old saying, familiarity breeds contempt. I was that way for awhile with Great Divide’s beers about a decade ago, they were everywhere and I drank them all of the time, but left them behind when both Avery and Ska started distributing in Denver. Now I’m looking for GD again when I go out.

    But you’ve convinced me to try FW again, just to see why you’ve left Dale’s behind.

    • April 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      The Union Jack definitely has the “west coast” thing going on, so maybe that’s what’s turning you off? I dunno, but side by side, Dales tasted a little flat while the Union Jack was fairly splendid.

      Then again, you know what they say – for every hot chick you see, there’s a guy who’s tired of [drink]ing her!

      • April 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

        I love West Coast IPAs, and I wasn’t getting that from the Union Jack, in fact it tasted more East than West to me. But yah, grass is always greener, yada, yada, yada

  9. April 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    If you’ve read my comments here you know my “go-to” IPA… or everyday beer… is Southern Tier IPA (just killed 2 at my favorite pub on the way home from work). Have not tried Dale’s but I’ve seen it in the store.

    Anyway, my So Tier is (was) your Dale’s… some day I may find one that blows it away… but not yet…

  10. Nate Hoover
    April 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    I’m really loving the Happy Camper IPA by Santa Fe Brewing. Super hoppy and really piney.

  11. April 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Lucky! I really want to try some Firestone Walker!!! They don’t make it to Ohio though D: (btw I have heard Dale’s classified as a Pale Ale and an IPA so who knows what’s right haha)

  12. April 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Union Jack is very good and easily outranks any OB beer IMO.

  13. April 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Ok, tried Union Jack. For me, it’s still Dale’s. UJ too sweet, not enough depth…agree with previous commenter that it’s more East coast. Sculpin terrific as is Blind Pig. And Racer 5 still has my heart.

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