Review: Ninkasi Total Crystalation

Author: Jason Harris
January 23, 2016

Ok, so regular readers on Pints and Steins will know that I have a weakness for fresh hop ales. I live in hop country, so it’s local. Fresh hop ales taste more floral, more punchy and are only available for a season. So, in essence, they’re super special.

Today we take a look at Ninkasi’s Total Crystalation, one of two fresh hop ales produced by Ninkasi this last September. I bought it via Roth’s Market in Salem, Oregon at their growler station, as this brew is only available on draft.

How does it taste?

In two words: citrusy and quite hoppy. This beer pours a beautiful orange-y red color that has a heavy head, leaving a heavy lace on the glass. However, you’ll notice that this brew has a clarity that is rare amongst fresh hop ales.

Upon your first sniff, your nose is greeted with a floral hop smell with orange citrus immediately detectable. When you sip, you’re greeted with instant citrus, which greets your tongue but doesn’t overwhelm. There’s a bitterness that is present but it dissipates quickly, leaving a smooth finish.

When you view the beer, you see quite a bit of carbonation, meaning this is a bubbly ale that will appeal to hop heads.

This beer is proud to wear its crystal hops on their shoulder, meaning this beer lives it from the get-go.

Should I buy it?

Yes. Fill your growler and enjoy this with friends. If you like hoppy, citrusy ales Ninkasi Total Crystalation will appeal to you.

Review: 2012 Deschutes Brewing Hop Trip Pale Ale [FRESH HOP]

Author: Jason Harris
November 9, 2012

In this edition of fresh hop ale news, let’s take a look at the king of fresh hop pale ales – Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewing.

For those unaware, Hop Trip ale is brewed in Bend, Oregon – after the crew comes to Salem, Oregon and handpicks the choice hops they want.  Then, the hops are trucked in a Uhaul back to Bend and boiled immediately.  The result is a succulent pale ale with a mild taste and bold fresh hop taste- sans the bitterness of a traditionally ‘hoppy’ ale.

I enjoyed Hop Trip in the best way possible – directly from the keg.

Upon your first pour, you’ll see how clear the pale ale is, with hardly any lacing on the glass. Your nose immediately picks up on the citrusy, floral hops. When you sip the beer you notice a sweet almost fruity-flavor that are complimented by pale malts.  This beer isn’t overly-carbonated and it’s very easy-drinking.

Honestly, after Chasin’ Freshies, I was hoping for more of a punchy hop taste. However, Hop Trip is a nicer, lighter version that will likely have  a broad appeal.  For example, my wife, who doesn’t like very bitter beers, thought Hop Trip was just right.

What are your thoughts on Hop Trip this year?  It’s available from now until December, according to Deschutes Brewery.