Beerman for July 12, 2012

For Weekly SurgeJuly 9, 2012 

Imperial forces have entered the can

I have traveled north and south in search of Imperial forces.

And I found them, in small but strong clusters.

Four-packs of 12-ounce cans, to be exact.

I entered Owens Liquors, 8000 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, armed only with a few bucks and a debit card.

I slowly walked around a shelf and then I saw it: G’Knight Imperial Red from Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colo.

For $13.99 plus tax, I bagged four cans. Then, because it was July 3, I bought 18 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $10.69. I briefly pondered this: four cans cost me more than 18 cans. Like all the good economists say, value is subjective.

G’Knight, an exceptional red ale twist on an India Pale Ale, was 8.7 percent alcohol by volume, so maybe, in a sense, I was purchasing the alcohol of eight cans.

The beer is named after Gordon Knight, an award-winning brewer who worked in various Western U.S. breweries until his untimely death in 2002.

In light of the recent news from Colorado, Knight’s passing at the age of 52 is significant. He was flying a helicopter that was dropping water on a forest fire outside of Lyons, Colo., where Oskar Blues Brewery was born. The helicopter crashed.

I didn’t learn about the inspiration for G’Knight until after I had encountered Imperial forces once again.

A few days later, I was passing through Pawleys Island, so I had to stop at Pawleys Wine & Spirits, 13135 Ocean Highway, a shop with a well-deserved reputation for carrying top-notch craft beers.

I entered, and I saw G’Knight, and beside it, Gubna Imperial IPA, also from Oskar Blues.

That’s Gubna, like, “In Birmingham they love the Gubna / Ooh-ooh-ooh / Now we all did what we could do.”

On the back side of Gubna, just below the rim, the can reads: “Does Your CANscience Bother You? Tell The Truth!”

Hey 19, that’s Lynyrd Skynyrd. You can Google “Watergate.”

Of course, I had to bag the Gubna, for $12.99. Again, that’s a four-pack of 12-ounce cans.

The Gubna has the strength of his convictions – 10 percent alcohol by volume. And a fine IPA it is.

So what makes G’Knight and Gubna Imperial?

“The Imperial usage comes from Russian Imperial stout, a style of strong stout originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court of the late 1700s,” according to

Neither G’Knight nor Gubna is like a stout, but they’re both malty and boozy, making them Imperial.

However, goes on to say, with IPAs, or India Pale Ales, the Imperial IPA style is usually called Double IPA, so you might have seen that label more frequently. Both Gubna and G’Knight are considered Double IPAs – which also means plenty of hops – although the latter has a red-ale twist.

Brews-A-Palooza date change

In my last column, I announced the upcoming inaugural Brews-a-Palooza beer festival at House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach.

It was originally scheduled for July 20, but some little act called The B-52s is scheduled to perform at HOB that night, so organizers slid Brews-a-Palooza to July 21.

Brews-a-Palooza, with 50 craft beers, will run 5-11:30 p.m. Admission will be $5, which includes a free tasting glass. Beer samples, at various prices, can be purchased with tickets that cost $1 each. A free buffet starts things off, from 5-6 p.m.

Obama’s British beer

This past week, CNN reported President Obama was hanging in an Amherst, Ohio, bar and drinking Miller Lite, just like one of those regular people who have never been to an Ivy League law school or sat in the U.S. Senate.

Miller Lite isn’t exactly a regular American beer, either. It’s owned by SABMiller, a British company. Sure, Miller was born in the U.S.A., but what’s wrong with an American-owned barely-microbrew like maybe Samuel Adams? That would be extra patriotic.

The all-but-official Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, will probably not be seen drinking any alcoholic beverages because of his Mormon faith.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s better not to do it at all than to get it wrong.

On the other hand, a beer or two might help Romney loosen up.

Contact Colin Burch at and visit his blog at

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