Fair Maiden: Ninkasi Brewing Company Maiden The Shade

It’s the end of the summer, so this is a good time as any to start reviewing summer beers. Now, I’m a pretty smart guy. I’m not entirely sure what differentiates a India pale ale from a summer-style India pale ale. IPAs typically defy tradition seasons, landing themselves on year-round offerings from craft brewers, though fruits, malts and other modifiers can shift them to seasonal slots. Still, summertime IPAs make me think that it is going to be more of a session beer than a full-strength, hop-forward beer. 

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Not this one. Ninkasi Brewing Company, the highly regarded Oregon brewer, says its use of flaked barley accomplishes the task at hand in its Maiden The Shade. Apparently, it’s this flaky barley that imparts a smooth flavor and light body to the beer, leaving you with a boldly flavored beer made with eight different varieties of hops, and a near-7.0% ABV. 

The hazy golden brew poured with a dank floral aroma. The flavor is bold and citrusy thanks to the blend of hops — summit, centennial, simcoe, columbus, crystal, palisade, amarillo, and magnum — with a tangy acidity. The malts and barley temper the intensity of the hops but this is certainly an IPA. As for the summer IPA designation, it’s certainly a lighter-bodied beer for an IPA with this level of bitter and booze. So, yeah for flaked barley.

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Brewer: Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer: Maiden The Shade
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.8%   IBU: 72
Container: 22 oz. bottle
Price: $10.49 (purchased as a single)   Point of Purchase: Syosset Beverage, Syosset, N.Y.
To The Eye: Hazy and golden. About a finger-width of foam that disappears quickly, along with the carbonation.
To The Nose: Floral. It’s resinous and dank all the way.
To The Palate: A-ha! Citrusy to the tongue. Lemon and orange, but with a little acidic tang.
Aftertaste: Sweeter than you would imagine for an IPA. The malts kick in here.
Boozy Factor: Moderate for an IPA.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 8

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