OK, Oskar Blues. It took some doing, but enough beer loving friends of mine sang high enough praise of your Gubna Imperial IPA that I broke down and bought a can. That took some doing; the first time that I saw it, I picked it up, almost stuck it into my cart-but promptly put it back on the shelf when I saw the $5.49 price-for a single 12-ounce can!
Eventually, though, curiosity got the best of me, and upon a return visit I broke down and bought a can. Based on the quantity still remaining, it seems to me more than a few beer geeks were also put off by the high-nay outrageous-price. Be that as it may, I got my prize home and drank it a few nights later.
Each year GUBNA takes on a personality of its own. We seek out the most exciting and best available hops fromeach individual season to create a potent and complex Imperial IPA. GUBNA is packed with Rye and North American Pale Malt and accented with Munich Malt to give a spicy and flavorful backbone to support loads of kettle hops driving the IBUs to triple digits. The 2014 GUBNA Seasonal is dry hopped with copious amounts of Sorachi Ace, Chinook and Mosaic hops creating a dank, dense nose and unique blend of lemon zest, red berries, spice, peach and herbs through a clean bitter finish.
Gubna Imperial IPA is a seasonal release of strength 10% alcohol by volume and over 100 IBUs. It seemed bitter to me, though not that bitter as compared to say, Bigfoot Barleywine. My can was brewed at the new Brevard, North Carolina location. It has the word “DISESTABLISHMENTARIAN” boldly featured on the rim of the can.
Gubna Imperial IPA pours to a bright orange color with a thick creamy head formation and a very intense hoppy nose of citrus and pineapple. A thick layer of Brussels lace clings to the sides of the glass and follows the liquid all the way to the bottom. Taking a sip, this one has a surprisingly light body of sweet caramel and a hint of spicy rye up front followed by an absolutely intense hoppiness that just permeates the beer. Light herbal aromatic hops are infused into every sip of the Gubna, they're very fragrant and perfumey and fruity with light citrusy notes (Sorachi Ace) and exotic pineapple flavor (Mosaics). The beer finishes with a huge long dry bitterness and rich alcohol warmth. This is a sipping beer to be sure, and an absolutely exceptional one that has hops written all over it. Grassy, herbal, minty, peppery hops permeate too.
Now, all that being said, and as much as I loved this beer (and Oskar Blues beers in general) I'll probably never buy it again. It's good, seriously, but not $5.49 a can good. I’ve been told it sells for $13.99 a 4-pack-still too high. Total Wine did not have any 4-packs available that I saw, just the singles. I would not have bought a 4-pack at $13.99 if that were the price, since to me $9.99 is enough for a 4-pack of a specialty like this. It’s what I pay for Bigfoot after all.
In the final analysis, I’m glad I tried Gubna Imperial IPA, and it gets 5 stars from me on style and hedonistic principles. It does certainly pack all those hops in there while not burying the malt completely and retains the essence of India Pale Ale. One star off for the price, though, and this one won’t get a rebuy rating from me. I can get a full bomber of Lagunitas Hop Stoopid which celebrates the hops just as nicely while just a little less. It sells for $1 less for almost twice the beer in a bomber bottle.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.