I recently took a trip through beautiful Oregon and paid a too-short visit to my favorite brewery, Ninkasi Brewing. This place of wonder was not quite what I expected: it was in a very industrial part of town, which in itself is not that unusual for a brewery, but I am used to strip malls and office parks with tasting rooms. This particular section of Eugene was full of graffiti, run-down homes and factories whose products at which I could only guess. It was also laid out like it was built around the neighborhood it inhabited, with the road leading up to it leading directly to the main administrative building. I generally don’t expect to get lost at a brewery until after sampling the beer (Of course, I kid…)
Eventually winding my way back to the building where they actually brew the stuff, I was presented with a complex that reminded me of a cross between a brewery and a junkyard (just cluttered, not dirty). There was chain link and black brick surrounding what I could see of it from the front, which was not much given the small city block on which it sat. They did have a small patio area just inside the fence/wall and a fire pit beneath the grain tower. It was cozy enough for the part of that city.
Hopping inside for the main attraction, the situation was much different: bright, shiny stainless everywhere there wasn’t clean, smooth concrete. As is fairly standard across all tasting rooms I have visited, the taps were the first thing to greet me through the door. It was the middle of the day (don’t judge me…) so there were only a few people at the counter. I was excited to try something I had not had from them before, so I got the Quantum Pale Ale and Lux Helles Lager.
Starting out easy, I tried the Quantum Pale Ale first. This poured a rich golden color and had a thick stand of frothy foam that did not stick around long. Tropical fruits and flowers hit my nose on the smell. The taste was surprisingly mild for a pale ale, with light to medium carbonation and light mouthfeel. There was a light taste of tart, sweet fruit, with a flowery taste trailing toward and lasting through a very mild finish.
At a pretty moderate 5.6% abv, not a bad beer I could definitely see myself with after work at some point in the future.
I wanted another beer, but being on the road so long I just got a taster of another light one: the Lux Helles Lager. This one poured light pale yellow with very fizzy head that dissipated very quickly. It smelled yeasty with some lemon and grassy aromas. It reminded me very much of spring, despite the cloudy weather and cool temperature that particular afternoon. It had a very light mouthfeel, with surprisingly light carbonation, given the bubbly pour. The lemon flavor came through first on the taste, followed by a whole lot of fresh-cut grass. There really was not much else to this beer, except some lemon on the finish.
This was not a particularly dynamic beer, though I am not sure that was the point. Still: