Ninkasi Brewing‘s The Devil Went Down to Oregon collaboration with Devil’s Backbone Brewing of Virginia is available now in bottles and will be on draft at The New School’s 5th Anniversary New Year’s Eve party. If you’re not familiar, Devil’s Backbone is one of the most award-winning east coast breweries and has been racking up the GABF medals the last few years.
In a collaboration spanning Oregon’s bountiful Willamette Valley to Virginia’s heartland, Steve Crandall and Jason Oliver of Devils Backbone Brewing took the bet and gave the Devil his due when Ninkasi founding brewer, Jamie Floyd, came a’calling. What the trio first described as “a sort of West Coast, German-Style Roggenbier” turned into an Imperial Dark Rye, offering an elevated alcohol percentage and a crisp, lager-like finish from the Alt yeast fermentation.
“This beer offers a lot of complexity from start of finish and is unlike anything we’ve brewed before,” says Jamie Floyd, founding brewer and co-founder of Ninkasi. “The Alt yeast offers a slight hint of vanilla that opens to a spicy hop aroma. A sweet, malt flavor follows which lends itself to the drying, nuttiness of the rye and then is softened in the finish by the wheat and earthy, grassy and floral hop notes.”
Floyd became good friends with Steve Crandall, Devil’s Backbone’s founder, almost five years ago when Crandall visited the brewery and toured with Floyd.
“I had, and continue to have, a huge amount of respect for Ninkasi,” explains Crandall. “We visited the brewery to gain some insight into how Ninkasi was successfully managing its growth; we learned a lot and have been able to use some of that knowledge as we grow our own brewery here in Virginia.”
This past year, Floyd also judged the 2014 World Beer Cup alongside Jason Oliver, Devils Backbone brewmaster. “It became clear that we shared a love for traditional brewing, especially when it comes to German styles of beer, along with a love of metal music, which is always close to my heart,” says Floyd.
“This beer was developed organically,” Oliver says. “We took an initial idea of brewing an Alt beer and eventually landed on a recipe that nods to a relatively unknown Old World German-style of beer, the German-Style Roggenbier, and brewed it with modern West Coast ingredients.”
“Collaboration in my mind should always strengthen friendships and this beer is a perfect example of how fun the process can be,” says Floyd.
Style:Imperial Dark Rye
Series: Special Release Series
Available: January – April 2015
Malt:Bohemian Pilsner, Premium Pilsner, 2-Row Pale, Dark Wheat, Rye, Crystal Rye, Golden Naked Oats, Midnight Wheat
Hops:Chinook, Simcoe, Mt. Hood, Willamette, Tettnang
Packaging: 22-ounce bottles and draft (12-ounce bottles included in the Ninkasi Spring Variety Pack)
Distribution:Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Nevada; Oregon; Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia