Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Craft Beer Crosscut 4.16.19: A Flight of Ninkasi

Ron Swarner


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsJune 15, 2006, Ninkasi Brewing Company set out with a single mission: Perpetuate Better Living. Operating under this core purpose, the brewery has grown from a two-man team — Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge — to become the 35th largest craft brewery in the United States, operating entirely from its facilities in Eugene, Oregon and employing more than 100 employees. Producing award-winning craft beers, giving back to each community that serves its beers, and garnering national recognition as a top employer are just a few milestones the brewery has achieved since it opened with Total Domination IPA on the fateful day in June. Peaks and Pints presents a flight of five Ninaksi beers that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 4.16.19: A Flight of Ninkasi.

Craft Beer Crosscut 4.16.19: A Flight of Ninkasi

Ninkasi-Vanilla-OatisNinkasi Vanilla Oatis

5.5% ABV, 37 IBU

We really enjoy Vanilla Oatis — an oatmeal stout brewed with vanilla — which is another beer from the Ninkasi Brewing Co.’s Flagship Series. Among its varied and complex aromas, we note charred marshmallows, chocolate milk, and a whiff of sunscreen. There was also the scent of a Black Russian cocktail in this boozy beer. With a good amount of vanilla up front, Vanilla Oatis had a silky smooth mouthfeel and some meatiness to it, as well as flavors that brought to mind a campfire.

Ninkasi-Prismatic-Juicy-IPA-TacomaNinkasi Prismatic Juicy IPA

5.9% ABV, 36 IBU

Cryo Hops are a relatively new product on the market that promises to allow brewers to obtain the same amount of bittering, flavor, and aroma with a fraction of the vegetal matter included in traditional pellet or whole cone hop packaging. Deep-freezing hops using liquid nitrogen allows the lupulin found in whole hop cones to be extracted with minimal oxidation, and packaged in powder or pelletized forms. This packs roughly double the punch per weight of traditional hop packaging. Ninkasi brews their Prismatic Juicy IPA with Mosaic Cryo and dry hops it with Simcoe Cryo, as well as El Dorado, Centennial, Simcoe, and Citra hops resulting in notes of pineapple, passionfruit and guava.

Ninkasi-Heart-and-Science-TacomaNinkasi Heart and Science

6.8% ABV, 48 IBU

Ninkasi brewed this IPA as a “tribute to the technical arts and heartfelt dedication that brewers, farmers, suppliers, and fans bring to the independent craft beer industry.” Nice. The medium-bodied IPA hits the nose with hops, malt, some pine and all the orange, tangerine, grapefruit, guava, and mango. The taste follows the nose with a nice dry and bitter finish.

Ninkasi-Total-Domination-TacomaNinkasi Total Domination

6.7% ABV, 65 IBU

Brewed with 2-row Pale, Munich and Carahell malts balanced by Summit, Amarillo and Crystal hops, Ninkasi’s Total Domination hits the nose with honey sweetness and fruity juicy hops aroma — blueberry, raspberry, oranges, and some evergreen. We find full flavor both from the body and the hops character, especially the blueberry. Caramel malt backbone elevates the hops to just where they need to be. Appropriate malt character and bitterness points to how well blended and integrated it is. Expect big juicy notes with a moderate bitterness.

Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA

8% ABV, 84 IBU

Ninkasi, the mythical god of beer, would be afraid of this Ninkasi Brewing imperial IPA. Hops explode in the nose, cascading pithy grapefruit, sticky pinesap and floral notes atop a caramel foundation. It hits the tongue hard with sweet caramel before a blend of Chinook, Cascade, Summit, Centennial and Palisade hops offer floral, fruity, and earthy notes, yet with a malt background. It’s a hop-forward, full-bodied and strong IPA. Yet the balance with the malt lends enough depth and a spicy complexity to make it very interesting. Resinous, citrusy, woody, and powerfully bitter, the hop flavors slowly unfold and last well into the aftertaste.