Ninkasi Dawn of The Red I.R.A. Ale

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

Ninkasi Spring Reign

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

Ninkasi Helles Belles

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

Ninkasi Expo 58

Beer gifts are the best. Whenever Val travels without me, she always brings stuff home and this was one of the singles she brought me back.


ABV: 5%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Marking the return of the World’s Fair after World War II, Expo 58 in Brussels brought inspiration, innovation and pleasure to the people of Belgium. With all the flavor, finesse, smoothness, and subtle clove esters of Belgian-style ales, this beer is our way of emerging from winter’s cold occupation. Enjoy! Expo 58 was born out of our brewers’ interest in Belgian-style ales. Similar to a Belgian Tripel, but with a much lower alcohol percentage, this beer has a spicy, floral aroma from the Belgian yeast and use of Saaz hops. With a biscuity backbone, the notable characteristics of the Belgian yeast shine through, bringing forth subtle notes of clove and banana in a sessionable Belgian ale.”

Random: My paternal grandmother used to tell me about going to the World’s Fair when I was a kid.

This beer poured with less than a finger of white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a light, lemon yellow with slight cloudiness and high carbonation. The nose had some skunk to it, almost like it was seriously light struck. It had grain and bread, but I didn’t get any Belgian notes. The taste was filled grain and the same skunk that was in the nose, but it was dialed down slightly. It also had white bread and some floral notes, but the Belgian spice aspect of the beer was missing. It tasted more like a Pilsner than a Belgian-style beer. It had a really thin body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with skunk. Since I received this beer as a gift, I don’t know how much it was. I also think it was a bit old since this was a Winter seasonal and I got this in March and drank it within a month (as mentioned before, I post awhile in advance). I would give this one another shot fresh.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Ninkasi Oatis

Val is an absolutely amazing baker. I’m not a huge fan of sweets, but I can’t resist anything she bakes. She makes oatmeal squares that are stellar and my favorite thing that she makes is Heath bar squares. She makes them every Christmas and they have little chunks of Heath bar on top. Now that I’m sufficiently hungry, let’s get to an oatmeal beer…


ABV: 7%

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A rich, complex oatmeal stout with just enough hops to balance the copious quantities of dark roasted malts and the addition of oatmeal for a creamy smooth drinkability. Oatmeal stouts are characterized by a roasted front flavor, smooth rich oats, a touch of chocolate flavor and dry finish. Oatis is bigger than the traditional style with more alcohol, body and a touch more bitterness to keep it balanced.”

Random: I used to eat oatmeal all the time as kid. My favorite was the packet with the brown sugar and maple syrup flavoring.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose had a lot of ash and tobacco. It quickly went into dark, roasted malts. I didn’t pick up any oatmeal on the nose. The taste started with the same amount of ash and smoke. It went into strong black coffee. Dark chocolate came through next. At the end of the sip, there was a touch of black licorice. The dominant flavor in this was smoke and ash, though, almost campfire like. The body was thick and the alcohol wasn’t noticeable. It had a lot of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with ash and black coffee. This was $2.00 a bottle ($.17 per ounce). I liked this beer, but the smoke characteristic took away from some of the more nuanced flavors. This was a decent beer, but I think it needed more balance.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA

The other half and I are off today, so we’re watching “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” The cat is snuggled between us. This beer is another one that I had at the Tap Takeover. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 8%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Tricerahops is double everything you already love in an IPA. More hops, more malt body and a higher gravity define this Double India Pale Ale. Fiercely flavorful, guaranteed to satisfy. Double IPAs are noted for their hop profiles. Earthy, floral hop aroma and flavor are abundant in Tricerahops. The bigger body and higher alcohol balance the large volume of hops to create a beer that is very flavorful while still being balanced and drinkable. At 8 percent ABV the beer can be deceiving as it is very smooth.”

Random: I think we finally picked out a couch for the living room.

This beer poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left slight lacing on the glass. The body looked to be a clear mahogany color with light carbonation, but due to the darkness in the bar, it was difficult to assess. The nose had lots of hops with grapefruit and pine resin and then caramel malt. The taste was clean with grapefruit, grapefruit pith and then pine and pine resin. There was some caramel malt to back it up, but the beer was seriously hoppy with no booze warming. It had a moderate body with moderate carbonation. The finish was long and hoppy. This was a really satisfying beer and I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ninkasi This Is Why I’m Hop

While we in Newtown, we stopped at one of my favorite olive oil/vinegar places. We tried a bunch of them and ended up coming home with some. We also replaced our apricot white vinegar, which we originally got at the Filling Station in Chelsea Market and ran out of. After that we headed to dinner and then off to Isaac Newton’s for the Ninkasi tap takeover. This was the first beer that I had there.


ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “When I say I’m hop, this is what I mean… This juicy, hop-forward IPA brims with an impressive amount of full hop flavor and aroma. Brewed with Centennial, Citra and Mosaic hops, this beer demands attention. Take it slow, friends!”

Random: The bar was seriously dark, as you can tell from the picture.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It left light lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, amber with moderate carbonation. The nose was bursting with a lot of tropical fruit. I specifically picked up mango and pineapple. There was a lot of citrus as well. The taste was intensely hoppy and bursting with tropical fruit. I got lots of mango and grapefruit. It was intensely bitter, but then had some malt sweetness at the end. I didn’t pick up any booze on it either. It had a medium body with moderate carbonation. The finish was long and hoppy. For a hop head, this beer was exactly what the names suggested, intensely hoppy and satisfying. I’m glad to see this brewery in the area and will definitely be having more beers from them.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

So, after dinner, I was still hungry. Since we were in the Village, we headed to Blind Tiger Ale House, hopefully to get a quick bite. It was insanely hot in the place and packed, so I didn’t get anything to eat. But, they had a Ninkasi brew on tap, which I’ve never had since they’re not distributed to Jersey or Philly. Let’s see how this one went.


ABV: 6.7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Total Domination IPA has a citrusy, floral hop aroma, and big hop flavor balanced with a richness imparted by Carahell and Munich malts. This beer is a big flavorful Northwest IPA that maintains its drinkability, and as such, has garnered great admiration from the novice craft drinker and the seasoned hop-head alike.”

Random: The meow is awfully snuggly tonight.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a slightly cloudy, hazy yellow color (at least from what I could see in the very dark bar). The nose was filled with dank, piney hops. There was some citrus too. So far, so good. The taste was light, and pretty balanced between light caramel malt and citrus hopes with some pine. There was some grapefruit pith as well. It had a medium thick body with very high carbonation. It had a long finish with pine and grapefruit. For my first Ninkasi brew, I really liked this one. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0