As an emerging pillar of the Whiteaker neighborhood, Ninkasi brewery has been one of the few consistent businesses in a faltering economy. Started in 2006, the local brewery has expanded to having beer on draft in almost every Eugene bar and can even be found in the craft beer saturated city of Portland. Maddie and I found ourselves inside the tasting room of the brewery last Saturday, participating in the Zwickelmania brewery tour.
Myself being a huge monetary contributor to all beer companies, I was pretty excited to try this locally brewed beer for free. The brewery was packed with patrons sampling all nine Ninkasi beers for sampling free in small mini glasses. If larger quantities were desired, a tray of six different samples was $5.50 while a pint of any beer was $4.50.
Maddie and I opted for two small free samples. We each both tried the Total Domination IPA and Tricerahops IPA. Both were very flavorful and hoppy. In my opinion the quality of the beers could compete with any of the major craft beer breweries in Oregon.
Part of Zwickelmania was a chance to get a tour of the brewery itself. Being one of the many twenty-something people who have attempted to brew homemade beer, it was interesting to see the process on a much larger scale. The tour also cemented the perception of Ninkasi being a small locally brewed beer. The influence of the Whiteaker neighborhood was clear as Floyd described the neighborhood presence. By the end of the tour it was apparent that if Ninkasi had national success similar to Deschutes or Rouge, they would stay close to their roots in the Whiteaker neighborhood.