Feb 27, 2020

The Brew Review: When I saw its face, I was a ‘Believer’

Photo courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing Company

Photo courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing Company

Ninkasi Brewing Company, a craft brewery based in Eugene, Oregon, boasts a great line of beers that can be readily found in the Fresno area once again.

Up until recently, Ninkasi, which gets its name from the Sumerian goddess of beer, lacked local distribution, so seeing its beers on shelves in Fresno was an inconsistent occurrence at best, unfortunately.

Brewing partners Nikos Ridge and Jamie Floyd met in 2005 and started Ninkasi in 2006. The company’s flagship beer is Total Domination IPA, but it has added other amazing beers like Tricerahops Double IPA, Oatis Oatmeal Stout and Believer Double Red.

Generally, red beers aren’t too incredibly hoppy, but when this type of beer gets labeled as “double” or “imperial,” it’s usually an indicator of a higher alcohol content or an uncharacteristic hoppiness.

Although not classified as an IPA, Believer could be mistaken for one. No, it isn’t the hoppiest beer that Ninkasi offers, but it could stand next to them in terms of flavor.

Believer has the best of both worlds. It has the smoky and sweet notes of a dark beer and the awesome hoppiness of light-colored IPAs.

It pours a very dark red – almost brown. The aroma shares the qualities of both an IPA and a dark ale that is very malty.

If you insist on comparing Believer to IPAs, which are often best enjoyed during the summer months, Believer, even as a “double red” would work very well in cold weather.

Generally cold weather beers are stouts, porters and other dark beers, but this beer meets many criteria that would draw you to it on a rainy day.

Weighing in at 6.9 percent alcohol by volume, the people of Ninkasi recommend their beer be paired well with “pork; lamb; duck; pizza; rich creamy cheeses; toffee or chocolate.”

Because this beer drinks more like a dark beer than a light IPA, it is heavier and won’t be as easy as a quick drink.

It has the creamy maltiness of a dark brew while maintaining the crisp freshness of an IPA.

If you’re looking to enjoy a traditional IPA, Ninkasi Tricerahops would be your best bet. But if you’re looking for a unique experience that is sure to satisfy, Believer is a great example of a beer without a steadfast classification.

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