What’s the real history of this beer anyway?
Dale’s Pale Ale at Oskar Blues in Lyons was started as a “grown-up” version of one of my homebrew recipes.
My homebrew pale was, “GASP”, actually based upon a very tasty West-Coast commercial pale that was heavy on the Columbus hops – to which I added a Centennial
(what else) final finish for my homebrew – and ultimately Dale’s Pale Ale.
People used to ask why it was called Dale’s Pale Ale. Well, since my name rhymes not with Pale or Ale it seemed that Dale was a much
better choice. Those who dig deeper might note that Dale’s legal first name just doesn’t rhyme with anything – and its typical nickname
“Dick” doesn’t really appeal as a product name. As appropriate as the name “Dick’s Pale Ale” might be to his character, it just doesn’t flow off the tongue.
People also asked why it’s such a BIG beer. It was actually a test beer for a “new” brewing system and at the last minute a bag of pale malt
was added because the system efficiency was thought to be quite low. Amazingly, I brewed Dale’s Pale Ale for several years with essentially no changes to the original
“test” recipe. Pretty cool huh!
Back to the story, Dale Katechis opened Oskar Blues in 1997 as a restaurant in the upper floor of a strip mall in Lyons, Colorado. The space had been intended to be a Steakhouse
by the owner, but I understand he passed away before he could realize his dream. Dale subsequently leased the space and opened “Oskar Blues Grill and Brew”. I frequented the
place early on, and initially expected the thing to die an early death. After a few months of drinking “Oskar Ale” (simply re-named Sawtooth Ale from Lefthand Brewing in Longmont),
I started to pester Dale that his establishment ought to make beer. Like this… “It’s called Oskar Blues Grill and Brew – where’s the BREW!”
Needless to say, Dale called my bluff, but I called his in return and provided a 1/2″ thick printout of used brewing equipment I found available from failed brewpubs throughout the country.
Dale and I settled on a trip to Santa Clarita, CA – financed by Dale, of course. After evaluating the equipment (Rube-Goldberg at best) and withstanding phenomenal California-style partying
including Limo rides, some decent Blues music, a couple tattoos and a likely-shemale/Judge/Jaguar owner from BelAir we returned to Lyons with two rental trucks just packed full of some of Jim Schlueter’s
finest brewing equipment.
I personally brewed Dale’s Pale Ale from 1998 through May 2002, turning the beer crank for my happy customers. Torrid tales tell the story of my 2002 exodus – frankly, the juicier the better I would say!
In the years since ’02 Oskar Blues has made a national name for themselves as the craft-beer “canning” pioneers.
Unfortunately, no one from the early days at Oskars is left anymore.
So if you hear some story from Dale about how he brewed “Dale’s Pale Ale” in college – ask him what his (if any) college homebrew really tasted like!