I don't know what to think about Ninkasi these days. They've made a lot of good stuff over the years, and after the disappointing Sleigh'r I had hoped ReNEWale would be a return to form, and, indeed, a renewal of what once was.
That is sadly not the case.
It pours a deep dark color, with a puny head that quickly disappears. Retention is so-so. This is not a good first impression.
Sniffing it brings forth surprisingly little. There might be a hint of coffee in the back, but otherwise there's little going on here, which is a bit odd for a porter.
And then it really falls apart. I can handle a dull porter, at least up to a point, but ReNEWale just doesn't taste particularly pleasant. Coffee flavors can be a fickle fiend in any beer and when the dominant taste is one of old Folgers, then... Well, you can imagine. Who really wants that?
Let it warm up a bit and a few other flavors come forth, mostly some malts and a vague hint of chocolate. That helps, at least marginally, but it is kind of a moot improvement when the mouthfeel feels like tap water.
Ninkasi has made some brilliant stuff, a standard ReNEWale sadly does not live up to. Fingers crossed the brewery will climb up on that horse next time.
Vote for Ninkasi ReNEWale Porter 2012: It’s your civic duty!