Wise Guys Pizza in Ketchum was host to a “Tap Takeover” by Ninkasi Brewing Company out of Eugene last night. After swinging by Sawtooth Brewery (where I now pour beers on occasion), we hopped over to check out what’s new with Ninkasi. Along with their usual line-up they had 2 nice fresh hop beers to share. Fresh hop beers are just what you might think. Hops are harvested in late August and September and most of them are grown in the Willamette and Yakima valleys of Oregon and Washington. Fresh hop ales use varying techniques to incorporate the hops into their beers right off the vine. Of the two offerings Total Crystalation Fresh Hop IPA was the best. Based on the Total Domination recipe they simply pour the wort into a tank stuffed with fresh hops and let it sit for a week.
Honestly I have had fresh hop beers with a much better punch. But again (my opinion) Ninkasi is almost there but not quite with lots of their beers. They are all well made but none make me say wow. That said, if someone poured me an Oatis Oatmeal Stout or a Sleigh’r Double Ale this winter I certainly wouldn’t be upset! While on the topic of beers, probably the best new beer I have had all year was a collaboration brew between Alpine and New Belgium called Super IPA. Now THAT was a beer that had me weak in the knees. The hop aroma punches you in the face before you even get your hands around it, but be careful because this bad boy clocks in at 9.0% ABV.
Holiday beers are arriving on the shelves!! Happy days!