Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Beers — Ninkasi vs. Snoqualmie

Ninkasi Spring Reign Ale

ABV 6%

Clear golden orange.
Fresh, clean grains and a touch of honey. Floral hops.
Not much going on, just some lemony hops along with the fresh grain flavor.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Bitter vegetable finish that stays for a long time.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Snoqualmie Spring Fever
(Belgian Style Grand Cru Ale)
ABV 7%

Burnt orange.
Classic belgian yeast — banana & cloves, nutmeg and sweet malts.
Flavor: Starts with citrus then on to sweet malts, cinnamon and cloves.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Sweet pineapple and banana, slight lemon bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Winner by unanimous decision
: Snoqualmie. The Ninkasi tasted like a pretty basic pale ale — good to sip on a hot day to quench your thirst, but not very complex or interesting. The Spring Fever, on the other hand, had a lot of character, flavors and aromas. It is really a very nice interpretation of a Belgian ale with classic flavors and a rich, full mouthfeel. This battle brings up a larger issue: what style should a Spring beer be? Should it be clean and hoppy like the Reign or rich and complex like the Fever? To us, it make more sense for a Spring beer to be more like the Reign, but that has no bearing on which one we thought was a better beer — clearly the Spring Fever in this case.

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