I love variety packs because they give me the chance to try a lot of new things. I’ve lived in Oregon for nearly 2 years now and I’ve rarely had the same beer twice. Sure, I have a few favorites that I gravitate to, but mostly I like to try new things. This variety pack includes three beers listed as “Flagship series” although only one of them, the Total Domination IPA, is the only one I’ve seen with any regularity. The 4th is labeled as a “Special Release Series”.
*Note: The ranking system will be based on a 5 star system and will correlate with what I would, or in most cases have, ranked the beer on Untappd. Five star beers will be rare, I always like to leave myself somewhere to move upwards, exceptional beers will score 4 to 4.5 stars.
Total Domination IPA: India Pale Ale – 6.7% ABV
This beer pours a deep golden color with a light hop aroma of both pine and citrus. The flavor is all hops, as you would expect. The bottle lists “multiple hops” but doesn’t list varieties or IBUs, but it seems to be a combination of piney (likely Cascade) along with some fruity notes (Simcoe or Mosiac?). The bitterness lingers long after you swallow. A tiny bit of malt sweetness, but very hop forward.
Rank: 3.5 (of 5) Stars – A solid IPA, not mind blowing but very tasty.
Dawn of the Red: India Style Red Ale – 7.0% ABV
This beer pours a nice amber color, a little darker than the IPA with a strong hop aroma, again a blend of pine and citrus. There is also a character of malt sweetness in the aroma, that oftentimes reminds me of cotton candy. You get that malt sweetness at the forefront of the flavor before the hops kick in with the pine and citrus. Like the IPA the bitterness lingers long into the finish. All around a well made beer with more malt to balance out the massive hop profile.
Rank: 4 (of 5) Stars – Solid example of a Northwest style Red.
The Devil Went Down to Oregon (Special Release): Imperial Dark Rye – 7.2% ABV
This is a really interesting beer, a collaboration with Devil’s Backbone Brewing in Virginia. This beer pours a dark brown, inline with a Nut Brown or Porter, not quite Stout territory. The aroma has hints of licorice and a “grain” type aroma. Bread? Other baked goods? Likely from the Rye. The flavor starts with malt sweetness and then transitions into rye spiciness with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Not overly hopped, the malt and rye shine through. The finish is clean and the bitterness does not linger. Some astringent drying in the finish but not overpowering. Overall a really unique beer.
Rank: 4 (of 5) Stars – Unique and enjoyable.
Lux: German Style Helles Lager – 5.0% ABV
This beer pours a light golden color with a light, slightly fruity aroma. Not much in the way of hop aroma. The flavor, as you would expect for a lager, is crisp and clean. Some slight fruitiness and not much hop bitterness. A slight bitterness lingers into the finish but overall everything is very light and muted.
Rank: 3.5 (of 5) Stars – Refreshing lager.
Overall a very enjoyable selection of different and unique beers. Well done Ninkasi!