The great Northwest has some of the most pristine wilderness, raging rivers, unmatched beauty, and yes, some of the most fantastic beer in the country. Located in Eugene, Oregon is the home of Ninkasi Brewing Company; one of the breweries that seems to be popping up all over the place. I have tried several of the brews in the past, and have yet to be disappointed by any of their offerings. With that thought stirring in my head, I spotted the colorful bottle of “Maiden the Shade,” swooped it up and decided to give it a go.
This American Pale Ale is a great way to kick off a day of consumption, as it comes in at 6.8% abv, which makes it good to get the party started, but won’t knock you out flat before the party has shifted into high gear. Anyway, as beautiful as the bottle was, I knew that this would be a slower consumption, so I wrapped it in my favorite bomber jacket to keep it snug and cool and was ready to give it the almighty taste test. To get a good idea of the look of this sucker, I still poured it directly into a pint glass to get a better look at the color, clarity, and the makeup of the bubbles.
After a good solid pour, a nice two-finger head of foamy white sat atop of the medium golden color brew. It looked very nice in the bottle, and upon first whiff of this stuff, there’s definitely that strong pungent grapefruit aroma that is so prevalent in so many west coast IPA’s. It smelled nice and balanced, which was a nice change from some of the hop-bombs that come out of some of the western states.
Tasting it is where you really get a good amount of the citrusy, piney hop flavors. The earthy hops of this brew blends so well with the biscuit type of malts that leaves a nice lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. As the foam head subsided, the lacing covered the glass, and the aromas continued escaping from the top of the glass. As I sat there on a warm, spring-day, I couldn’t help but think that this is a really fantastic beer for this type of weather. As the days get longer, the sun begins to burn a bit brighter and a bit warmer, this very consumable beer is big enough that you can tie one on after a few, but not such a beast that you’ll be done by nightfall. I say wrap this sucker in your bottle bomb to keep it cool, sip slowly and enjoy the warming of the seasons. Next time you’re out an about and see this colorful bottle staring back at you, it may be a good idea to grab a couple. A bit of “Maiden the Shade” on a warm, spring or summer day? Yes, please!