- The brewery started shipping 6-packs of Total Domination IPA and Spring Reign Pale Ale.
- The East Burn Beer Belly Dinner for March featured Ninkasi.
- One of my favorite beers at the Lucky Lab Barleywine Festival was Ninkasi's 2010 Critical Hit.
A few days after that, this past Thursday, Carla and I went to the Ninkasi dinner at EastBurn, hosted by brewer Jamie Floyd. If you haven't been to one of these monthly dinners, pick a brewer you like and go to one. $35 gets you a really nice 5-course meal, 5 or 6 beers, and congenial company on the back porch. Proceeds benefit Ride On. Thursday most of the Ninkasi offerings were pretty standard: Spring Reign, Believer, Total Domination, Tricerahops. The dessert was served with side-by-side samples of Oatis and Vanilla Oatis, the latter dry-hopped with vanilla beans, which add a delicate sweetness to the already smooth oatmeal stout. We also got a taste of Ninkasi's 2011 entry in Eugene's KLCC Collaboration -- a sessionable pale ale that Jamie hopped with Hop Union's Falconer's Flight hop pellets.
Friday I snuck over for a brief session at the Lucky Lab's Barleywine Festival. I hope to write a little more about the fest in a couple days, but as I said above, one of the winners in my book was Ninkasi's 2010 Critical Hit. It was a classic take, located on the Old Foghorn/Bigfoot branch of the barleywine family tree, with decent but not overpowering alcohol heat and massive hops. I preferred the fresh article to the 2009 version, which was still good, but quite a bit cloudier and with less distinct flavors (maybe a little oxidation already creeping in also).
Speaking of Critical Hit, I won an EastBurn hoodie at the dinner Thursday night by answering -- close enough -- Jamie's trivia question about how he came up with the name Critical Hit. Luckily, Jeff Alworth had mentioned that bit of information to me recently: it's a Dungeons and Dragons double-damage dice roll. Pretty cool name for a barleywine, actually. Er, not cool, but apt.
Just four years ago, who could have foreseen Ninkasi's meteoric rise to become the brewery with the biggest-selling IPA in Oregon? That is, who besides Jamie and company? Keep your eye on them: the six-packs are going to propel them even further in their goal of Total Domination.