Two Ninkasi beers in a row! This is their Imperial Red Ale. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 7%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Bursting with tropical notes, this Red IPA captures the bright complexity of El Dorado and Mosaic hops. An assertive hop presence is carried by a subtle caramel backbone, unearthing a beer that is flavorful and juicy. Mango, papaya, pineapple and stone fruit notes burst out with bitterness up front. Sustained by a subtle malt flavor, this beer finishes smooth, leaving one ready for the next sip of this flavortastic beer!”

Random: I am fascinated by “This Old House.” I am slowly turning into my father.

The beer poured with a one finger, off white head. It dissipated slowly and left some spiderweb lacing on the glass. There was a lot of detritus visible and moderate carbonation as well. The nose was really nutty. It was filled with hazelnuts and malt. It quickly went into grassy and juicy hops with pineapple and Mandarin orange. I did pick the booze up on the nose. The taste started with the hops. It had fresh cut grass and quickly went into mango and grapefruit. Malt was present and incredibly nutty with hazelnuts and a touch of sweetness. There was no booze apparent in the taste. It had a light body, despite the ABV and had a lot of carbonation. The finish was quick with the remnants of the sweetness from the malt. A single of this beer was $1.83 ($.15 per ounce), which I thought was a great price. I enjoyed this beer a lot. I’m normally not the biggest fan of the style, but this was a good example of it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

As I post a beer review about a Spring seasonal in late October, I should probably say again that I post really far in advance. Because of my job, there are times that I can go weeks without posting and I used to just post my backlog in an entire day. I changed my approach and decided I would schedule 1 post per day (Monday through Friday, 5 PM and Saturday and Sunday 10 AM) and if I go weeks without posting, it’s not as big of a deal. With that being said, I had this beer in mid-May.


ABV: 6%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A lightly toasted British-style malt flavor balanced by bright Northwest-style hops. Spring forward with this refreshing seasonal ale. Notes of toasted malt up front, with a bright and crisp Northwest hop finish. It’s a session beer that everyone can enjoy! Like many Ninkasi beers, this is an ale more than a specific style, though we put it in the Northwest Pale category. A light toasted malt flavor is more reminiscent of a British Pale, but the hops are bright and very Northwest. Flavorful and easy to drink!”

Random: This beer pairs well with salads, soups, poultry, fish, cheese plates and dried fruit according to the website.

The brew poured with a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left limited lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and dark orange. There wasn’t much carbonation visible. On the nose, I picked up very bready yeast, dry crackers and light skunk. I didn’t get a lot of hops on this. The taste was more skunky than the nose, which wasn’t pleasant to me. It was even more bready with biscuit and a little bit of grainy sweetness. The body was on the lighter side with high carbonation. It had a quick finish with the same bread and skunk. A bottle of this was $2.30, which came to $.19 per ounce. Despite the price, I wouldn’t have this one again. It was too boring to revisit.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Today’s selection is another beer that Val brought me during one of her trips from DC. On our first vacation to DC and Maryland, we went to The Brewer’s Art for dinner one night and walked back to the hotel. It had just snowed and was absolutely freezing. In retrospect, we should have taken a cab, but hey, I’m stubborn. I remember being impressed by their beers and really liking their cheese plate.


ABV: 4.4%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: The only thing that I found about this beer was that it was now available in cans.

Random: I love the can art for this beer.

This beer poured with a quarter finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden-yellow with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had toasted grain with yeast and some golden raisins. It was very bright with some coriander for spice. Based on the nose and the ABV, I expected this to be a really light beer. But, I was wrong. It started with yeast and quickly went into an orange hard candy note. The next flavors that came through were wildflower honey and coriander. Golden raisins were present in the flavor, but not as strong as the nose. It had a heavy body for the style with high carbonation. The finish was quick with yeast and coriander. A can of this was $1.62 ($.14 per ounce). I enjoyed this beer and had no problem drinking it. I just wish the body was a touch lighter.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

For me, Ninkasi beers have been pretty good since I’ve had the chance to sample of few (they got distribution in Philly a few years back). Hopefully this one is just as good as the others.


ABV: 5.1%

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Trivia: According to brewery website, “Oregon’s own Ninkasi Brewing Company announces its year-round Flagship Series offerings for 2016. Starting January, Helles Belles, a Helles Lager, and Easy Way IPA, a drinkable India Pale Ale, join Ninkasi’s lineup of steadfast favorites available year-round in bottles and on-draft. Known for its highly-hopped offerings like Total Domination India Pale Ale, Tricerahops Double India Pale Ale, and Dawn of the Red India Red Ale, Ninkasi has grown to become the 36th largest craft brewery in the United States and prides itself on making well-balanced, high-quality craft beers for a wide range of palates. Founded in 2006 by Nikos Ridge and Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi first debuted with Total Domination IPA. Since then, the brewery has developed its Flagship Series to include seven diverse beer styles all available year-round. In 2016, craft beer drinkers can find new additions to Ninkasi’s year-round lineup including Helles Belles, a Helles Lager. After the brewery first released Lux, a German-Style Helles Lager, to its Flagship Series in 2015, it decided to revisit the recipe and brand. ‘We love Lux, which is why we gave it an upgrade,’ explains Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi co-founder and founding brewer. ‘Helles Belles has a slightly higher ABV and IBU, offering a beer that is a little more expressive and playful for a German-Style Lager.’ New branding also demonstrates the brewery’s more playful side, capturing its affinity for rock-‘n’-roll.”

Random: I’ve been enjoying this style a bit more than I used to, although it’s not my favorite.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw-yellow with a green tinge to it. There was light carbonation as well. The nose was clean and sweet malt. It had some earthiness to it, I assume from the hops, but the nose was all malt. The taste was not quite as clean, but the dominant flavor was bready, doughy malt. It had a certain sweetness to it. It also had a grassy hop note that complemented the sweetness well. After a few sips, a slight skunky characteristic came through that I wasn’t a huge fan of. The body was on the light side with moderate carbonation. It had a quick finish with honey and skunk. A bottle of this will run you about $2.50 ($.21 per ounce). I would have rated this beer higher if not for the skunk flavor. I wouldn’t have this one again because of it.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

One of the things that I hate the most about Fall now that I have a house is blowing all of the leaves. At least where I live, you can blow them into the street and you don’t have to bag them. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.


ABV: 7.5%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Soft Parade is a Fruit Rye Ale brewed with rye flakes and loaded with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. The rose colored ale has aromas of ripe strawberries and grain. With flavors of fresh berries and rye, Soft Parade finishes dry and eminently drinkable. Soft Parade was originally developed because Joe Short wanted to create a beer that incorporated a medley of berries, had a great color, and appealed to wine drinkers. The name Soft Parade stemmed from two moments in Joe Short’s life. First, because Joe worked as a brewer at the Traverse Brewing Company and The Doors album, The Soft Parade, played every day at the end of the brew shift. The second moment occurred when Joe was driving by himself, flipping through CD’s in his car, and came across The Soft Parade album again. At the time, The Soft Parade beer had not been named and it dawned on Joe that the medley of fruit infusing into the golden beer reminded him of a soft parade. That day the beer was named!”

Random: I love my battery operated mower. Not having to fill the mower with gas makes me ridiculously happy.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left a tinge of lacing on the glass, along with a small crown. The body was pink and cloudy with only slight carbonation visible. The nose had tart blackberries, blueberry skin and strawberry soda. The taste had some more complexity than the nose. It had a rye spice to it with some peppercorns and then quickly went into berry skins and tart blackberries. The strawberry note wasn’t as apparent in the taste, which was disappointing, although in beers like this, it’s not surprising that the other berries overwhelmed it. The body was on the thicker side with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with the tart blackberries. This beer set me back $1.71, which broke down to $.14 per ounce. I liked this beer, although I don’t think that I could down more than one or two of them.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Against The Grain’s labels, I have enjoyed the beers I’ve had from them so far. Let’s see how this one was.


ABV: 8.6%

Style: Rye Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cluck Cluck! The Chiquen has come home to roost! An amber ale brewed with rye malt and aged in rye whiskey barrels. Our first barrel aged beer here at Against the Grain is the Kentucky Ryed Chiquen. Named so because it was made in Kentucky, has a lot of Rye in it and was aged in rye barrels and it’s not Chicken. As we all know (or should know) Chiquen refers to anything that is not chicken. Now that we have all that straight, we will talk about what is in this beer. Brewed with Maris Otter from the UK and rye malt and caramel rye from Germany, imparting a spicy, fruity and dry flavor. Then hopped with enough English Nugget and Kent Goldings just to balance and fermented with our house ale yeast. After fermentation we moved the entire batch into the AtG private dining room and into used Redemption Rye barrels from our good friends at Strong’s Spirits. There it aged for 5 weeks until we felt it had picked up the right amount of residual bourbon character and oak flavors. We then transferred it to our serving tank, carbonated it and the end result is on tap now, a balanced drinkable and complex barrel aged beer.”

Random: I had New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon and wasn’t a big fan of it.

The beer poured with a two finger, white head that dissipated slowly. It left some lacing on the glass as well. The body was a bright amber color with lots of carbonation visible. The nose was mild, given that it was aged in bourbon barrels and was a rye beer. It had lightly toasted malt and the rye was muted. There was also some vanilla from the bourbon barrel aging. The taste had vanilla and spicy rye. There was also toasted malt, like a wheat toast and some cracker as well. The booze was insanely well-hidden. It had a medium body with a lot of carbonation. The finish was quick with vanilla and a touch of rye. A bomber of this was $18.99 ($.86 per ounce). I found this beer interesting, but I wanted more from the bourbon barrel aging and more spice from the rye. I’m glad I got to try it, but I wouldn’t rush back to have it again, especially given the high pricetag.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

One of things I used to love for breakfast was Irish oatmeal. I used to just eat it plain, but it was incredibly filling and I loved the texture. I think it’s one of the reasons that I gravitate to oatmeal stouts when I see them on the shelf.


ABV: 7%

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Trivia: This was brewed at Two Roads in Stratford, Connecticut.

Random: I need to get a haircut. I can’t remember the last time that my hair was this long. It’s really annoying.

This beer poured with a one finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black with no carbonation visible. The nose was very smoky had a lot of roasted malts. There wasn’t a lot of coffee but huge amounts of oatmeal, which was surprising. The taste was very ashy, like old cigarettes left in an ashtray. The other flavors were muted because of how strong the smoke and ash notes were. The oatmeal that I picked up in the nose wasn’t apparent in the taste at all. After a few sips, some cocoa powder came through too. The body was thick with some booze as well. It had moderate carbonation. The finish was long with the same ash that permeated the nose and the taste. A pounder can of this was $2.62, which broke down to $.16 per ounce. I didn’t really enjoy this beer much. It had no balance to it.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0