Ninkasi Brewing, over in Eugene, has only been brewing since mid-2006 but in that time they’ve become one of Oregon’s most talked-about breweries. But with good reason; Jeff declared their Believer Double Red Ale the Best Beer of 2006—his highly-coveted Satori Award—and I’ve literally heard nothing but good things about them.
So with such a highly decorated beer, how could I not write about it? Here’s how they themselves describe Believer:
A rich deep red with roasted malt and caramel notes, balanced by plentiful hops. Brewed for the believers of Ninkasi, delicious and satisfying, a wonderful representation of what the Northwest beer scene is all about.
I think that about says it all. It’s 6.9% alcohol, so tread lightly.
Appearance: Murky brown color with a tan head; definite orange highlights. (There’s an orange tint to the foam, too.)
Smell: Caramel malts, sweet candi sugar, strong bitter hops—makes me think of hop-infused rock candy. Hop aroma is oily and woody.
Taste: Big up-front hop wallop of woody, oily hop resins. It sits on a bed of soft, roasty, rich malt peppered with hints of honey and bready biscuit. Very bitter, a touch of spice. Some musty earthiness. Tobacco?
Mouthfeel: Smooth, full-bodied texture with a hoppy bitter after-presence. Sticky.
Overall: Incredibly pleasant and drinkable, and even for that I’d guess this bottle is a little green yet. Packs a punch and makes no apologies.