By Iron Chef Leftovers
I am the first one to admit that I am not a big fan of ginger in beer. Don’t get me wrong, I love ginger in food, but in beer, it tends to be used in such a way that it overpowers everything else in the beer rather than being a complimentary flavor. I was a bit apprehensive when NW Peaks did a beer with ginger in December, but, given their previous track record with ginger beers, this one had some potential.
From the NW Peaks website on the Kendall Porter:
The name. The mountain. Kendall Peak is located just off Snoqualmie Pass, part of the ridge that separates Commonwealth Basin and the Gold Creek basin. Due to its proximity to Snoqualmie Pass and PCT trail it’s a great destination for a summer hike or winter day in the snow. Besides great views of Commonwealth basin and the Snoqualmie area, a full ascent of the mountain nets you about 2750′ of elevation gain, but there are plenty of other excursions in the area if you need more adventure.
The Beer. Ingalls Ginger has been a summer favorite since NW Peaks opened and we continuously get calls fro it in the winter. Since we only produce Ingalls in the summer, we decided to try our luck at a winter ginger beer – and we’re pretty darn happy with the results! We used a brown porter as a base (slightly less roast and lower ABV than the more common robust porters). The porter consists of all English style ingredients with some chocolate and brown malt for the color, with ginger and bitter orange peel added at the end of the boil. The light refreshing nature of the ginger, subtle sweetness and citrus of the orange and light chocolate notes combine to a great, delicate aroma and flavor in a light bodied beer. The result is a full flavored, but very light bodied, easy drinking beer.
Malts: ESB, chocolate, crystal, brown. Hops: Golding (+ Ginger root and bitter orange peel). ABV: ~4.7%
The beer pours deep brown in color with a cream colored head. The nose is bold – significant notes of ginger, orange peel and roasted malt with hints of coffee and chocolate in the background; it is hard to believe this beer is under 5% ABV. The beer drinks very layered, starting out with pleasant malt with hints of roast and chocolate before beginning to show the ginger coupled with a slight touch of spicy heat from the root and a very mild bitterness before moving into pleasant orange peel and chocolate. The flavors build on each other and all appear on the very long finish with a nice tongue tingle. The use of ginger is restrained and acts as a supporting player, allowing all of the other complex players to come through in a well-balanced and deep beer.
NW Peaks Kendall Porter rolls into the station with 5 Red Lines out of 5.