Ninkasi ReNEWale 2013


In our previous episode of Ninkasi, I declared them dead to me. That might have been a bit harsh, seeing they do release some good special beers now and again. A more appropriate declaration would have been saying Ninkasi's seasonals are dead to me.

Yet here I am, trying their ReNEWale yet again. And they have truly renewed this ale. No longer is it a porter, but rather an ESB. That's a big change, yet it all goes sideways. Flavor wise it is completely different than last year's ReNEWale, that goes without saying, but quality wise...

Oh, it all starts off just fine, pouring a nicely dark amber color. The head looks creamy, though there's only about half a finger of it.

The nose, too, isn't shabby. Caramel and hops dominate, with a bit of malt toward the end. It's pretty predictable, which isn't -- or shouldn't be -- a bad thing.

Take a sip while it's too cold, and it doesn't come off as that bad either. Uninteresting, sure, but not bad. Let it warm up to an appropriate temperature, however, and it all falls apart. Which is strange; you'd think it would get better as it warms up a bit, but the ReNEWale follows in the proud footsteps of Budweiser and Coors Light. It works better at a cold temperature. I mean, what the hell?

There's just not much going on here. The mouthfeel is thin to the point of feeling watered down, and the bitterness isn't there. You can pick up on just a bit of caramel, but not to the point you'll want to do a happy dance or anything. It's a dull beer, almost offensively so.

So, obviously I don't like it. You might pick up something I didn't, who knows? Try it, but don't say I didn't warn you.