Ninkasi Brewing Company is relatively new to me but has been brewing beer since 2006. They are based out of Eugene Oregon and offer a select variety of craft beers with many more having been offered over the years. From their first barrel to now, they have grown quite a bit and are now the 33rd largest craft brewer in the United States. They employ over 100 people and are an independent brewer.
This first beer that I’ve tried from them is their Vanilla Oatis. It is an oatmeal stout, and according to their website; “A divine blend of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt notes swirl together to create a smooth Oatmeal Stout with a crisp finish. The true signature of this beer comes from the addition of whole vanilla beans to the final stage of conditioning—the same process we use to dry hop a beer. Slightly sweet with a rich complexity, Vanilla Oatis is decadent and delicious.”
The flavor is described as “Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout is characterized by a roasted front flavor, smooth rich oats, a touch of chocolate flavor, and a rich vanilla complexity imparted by whole vanilla beans. It is bigger than a traditional stout with more alcohol, body and a touch more bitterness to keep it balanced.” And according to Ninkasi, pairs well with “Desserts, Chocolate, Berries, Brûlées, Tortes, and Gelato.”
This beer was purchased individually at a local grocery store. It came in a 22 fluid ounce (650 mL) bottle and is 7.0% alcohol by volume. It is part of the Flagship Series, Ninkasi rates it at 50 IBU, offers it year-round, and has been producing it since 2009. Interestingly enough, Ninkasi even offers recipes using this beer as an ingredient.
The pour of this beer was smooth with a thick medium brown and slowly rising head. The color of the beer itself is very dark and lets little light through. The smell is very malty with what seemed to me was caramel and oats. The flavor is very smooth initially with some nice chocolate and malt flavors at the finish. I’m not sure I really smelled or tasted the vanilla at all. And I had to try hard to find the oatmeal flavor in it, but it’s still there. Overall a good beer that was still very good even as it began to get warm. Definitely looking forward to trying some more of what Ninkasi has to offer.
If you’ve had any Ninkasi beers and have some suggestions, let me know in the comments!