The G'Knight Imperial Red Ale from Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado is brewed as a tribute to Gordon Knight who died when his helicopter crashed fighting the Big Elk Meadows wildfire just outside of Lyons in 2002. Knight was also a brewer and won GABF gold medals at three different breweries (High Country, Twisted Pine & Wolf Tongue). He brewed on a 5-hectoliter system that he acquired from Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, who used used it to found New Belgium Brewing Company. Gordon Knight was a craft beer pioneer and, to him, it was all about the beer. "Gordon likes to make beer; the rest of the stuff he doesn't really care about." Four days shy of the 10th anniversary of Gordon Knight's passing I raise this beer as a toast to him!
G'Knight pours out a reddish copper in color with good clarity and is topped with a two finger, dense, off-white colored head that slowly reduces down to a film leaving sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. On the nose, aromas of toffee, pine resin and grapefruit with a little whiff of alcohol. In the mouth, this is liquid hop heaven - consistently bitter but not overbearing. Flavors of pine, grapefruit rind, some herb and a solid toffee-esque malt backbone balancing things out a tad. Full side of medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Thick sheets of lacing on the glass. Sticky mouthfeel. The finish is long, very long, with good hop and malt balance until the hops win out and leave your mouth with a wonderful bitterness.
All in all, a spectacular craft beer. Exceptional flavor. Wonderfully crafted. If you happen to be out between now and the 30th, pick up a 4-pack of G'Knight and save one for the 30th. On the 30th open it and toast Gordon Knight. Cheers!
12 ounce can, 8.7% ABV, 60 IBU
Beer 222 of 366 for 2012