Rogue Ales vs Ninkasi Brewing Company Review

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Rogue Ales – Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red / Review: Ninkasi Brewing Company – Total Domination IPA

Once again, I find myself behind in my beer reviews. Blogging about beer is proving to be more time consuming than I anticipated. I was reading Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw last night and he touched upon the difficulty on writing about and reviewing food. I’m finding the same issue with beer. I’ve noticed that I am over using descriptive terms and essentially saying the same thing about every beer I have. Perhaps though, this could simply be solved, not by picking up a thesaurus, but rather by simply not drinking so many IPAs. So that leads me to today’s review of two Oregon beers that I had this past week.



I suppose it makes sense for me to review both of these beers at the same time, despite having them days apart. Sure both Rogue and Ninkasi are Oregon breweries, but really what makes them similar in my mind is how distinctive their beers are. With either brewery you can have a beer of theirs and know with certainty that they were the ones to brew it. The pacman yeast strain provides a distinct flavor to Rogue’s beers. With Ninkasi I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes their beers so distinct; I want to say that it is the balance of hop flavors that is so consistent it can be picked up even in their Oatis Oatmeal Stout.



John and I were doing a little research for the red ale, that if we want it to be ready by the 4th of July need to have brewed last week, and picked up a couple of bottles of Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red. I was a bit disappointed in this bottle of St. Rogue Red I had. I know from experience that Rogue beers do not bottle age well. I think the bottle may have been a bit old, as the beer was flat and a tad flavorless. Still drinkable, just not amazing. Usually though, St. Rogue Red is one of my favorite Rogue beers and favorite red ales. Like all Rogue beers, it can be a bit on the pricey side, as much as $2.99 for a single 12oz. bottle.


I was so excited when Ninkasi finally got California distribution not too long ago. As the trend in what I’ve reviewed for the blog thus far reveals – IPAs are currently my favorite style of beer. However, Total Domination confuses me. I don’t mean in terms of taste, flavor or style. It’s the name. To me Total Domination means that I should get a bit messed up, or totally dominated, by drinking this beer. So I pick this beer up thinking that it’s going to be a fun night. When in actuality its Tricerahops Double IPA that I should be getting for that kind of night. Total Domination sits at 6.7% ABV while Tricerahops is a solid 8.8% ABV.


Misrepresentation by the name aside, Total Domination is a perfectly balanced IPA. It’s got great aroma, body, bitterness, etc. etc., etc. – everything that one seeks in an IPA. More importantly, it’s relatively low priced ($3.99 for 22oz.) for being such a high quality microbrew.

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