Ninkasi Brewpub, First Impressions

Posted: June 29, 2012 by bacchation in Beer, Brewpub
Tags: , , , , ,

Ninkasi in Eugene was a stop that had been waiting to happen for years.  On a recent multi-day paddling trip to the high Cascade lakes, we felt the need for a quick quenching.  Working our way through a maze of streets we found the brewery, flanked in food carts and a super funky food co-op.  A high wall, cool entry gate, and industrial feel matched well with what my expectations would be for the place, they have one of the coolest industrial styled tap handles in the business (I want a lot of these for my home beer cooler).

The taproom is tiny compared to most breweries that produce this volume of beer, I imagine that sales will eventually necessitate an expansion, though maybe the owners and neighborhood like the cozy feel.  Hungry, we were a little sad to see that the only option for food in the pub was a bowl of soup, but it sounded delicious so we ordered it and a sampler and proceeded to wander around.  The bar tender called us back, it seems that they only had enough soup for half of a bowl, but she assured me that were were there because they are “famous for beer, not soup” and reminded us that there was a giant food cart pod across the street if we were still hungry after.  The soup ended up being free, the perfect price!

The sampler was great, we selected beers towards the darker end of the spectrum, as I have had most of the lighter beers multiple times in bottles and we wanted to try some beers on draft.  Remember how I mentioned that I really liked their tap handles?  Their sampler tray design was just as cool, I wanted to go back inside and see if I could buy the tray for doing sampler sets of my own beers at home.

On top of the sweet layout of their tasters, they were kind enough to include upgrades to the usual tap list and short description of their beers that most places give you.  As a home brewer, the information on the back of each identification card was great to see, it gave you most of the data that you would need to start playing around with building your own clones of their beers.  Hops, malts, ibu’s, starting gravities… a treasure trove of info for the brewer or educated beer drinker.  For those who are not into that many details, they offer tasting notes and even suggested food pairings, nice touch.  It took all of my willpower not to consider one of these cards a souvenir.

Pictured above, the Renewale, was by far our favorite of the bunch, it took a 4 bottle rating, though none of the beers that we sampled deserved a rating below a 3.  Over all, our taster tray, the warm sunny day, the sparse but tasteful decorations of the place, and the great personalities of the two folks working the brewpub created a perfect atmosphere for a Friday morning drinking session, thanks Ninkasi for a wonderful experience!

Renewale 2012 – 4

Radiant Ale – 4

Turkey Soup (half bowl) – 3

Watching a 3 year old escape a half dozen times from his dad and run out the gate and around the block – priceless

Become a Sumerian, revere Ninkasi

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