Commentist Beer Barrel: In Space!

Good morning, evening or next Tuesday, fellow Commentists! Low Commander is here to man the Beer Barrel this week, as make it snow embarks on his yearly tradition of being a big quitter and thinking that he’s better than you. Never fear, for there are a whole host of guests lined up for the next 4 weeks ready to sample taste enjoy overindulge on your behalf! We do this not for ourselves, but solely for you and your reading pleasure alone, and anyone who thinks otherwise can probably see through the many bold faced lies I tell. Anyway, lets do this thing!

As many of your know, I live in San Diego county, which is arguably the beer capital of these United States, and home to more craft breweries than the states of neighboring Oregon and Washington combined. So, naturally, I will be reviewing a beer from Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, home to the Mother Duck and Chip Kelly’s favorite segregated bed and breakfast. Ninkasi Brewing was founded back in 2006, and is named for the Sumerian goddess of fermentation. Their major sellers and most commonly found brews include: Dawn of the Red (Red IPA), Tricerahops (Double IPA) and my favorite, Vanilla Oatis (Oatmeal Stout). Today’s review focuses on the first specialty brew from their so-called “Goddess Collection:” Ground Control.

Ground Control is a Imperial Stout, brewed with hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, which alone is not terribly uncommon. However, the big selling point/gimmick that interested me in this beer in the first place was that the yeast had been sent… INTO SPAAAAACE! That’s right, Ninkasi got together with a group of self-described “amatuer rocketeers” and launched this yeast into orbit, with the intention of retrieving and brewing with it. Why? Why the hell not?! Would the short period of no gravity have an affect on the taste of the yeast? What about the massive amount of G’s from the exodus and reentry? Will solar radiation mutate them into super-sided beings of hyper-intelligence, hell bent on returning to Earth and using humans to ferment their drinks of choice? Who knows, but it’s happening!

This actually took 2 attempts, as the first, while successfully leaving Earth’s atmosphere, landed 9 miles off target from the retrieval site. The team expected the yeast to survive for 10 hours on it’s own in the rocket, and it took them 27 days to find the damn thing.

No Dice
As they say in Bronson, Missourah…

4 months later, in October of 2014, the team tried again and apparently learned from their mistakes, as they quickly found the payload and retreated back to the lab for testing. A shortened version of the actual flight of the rocket is available for viewing here, lasting a rather impressive 18 minutes in total (ladies!?). In May of last year, I found this bottle of Ground Control at a local bottle shop in Ocean Beach for the low, low price of twenty freakin’ bucks! This was, somewhat embarrassingly, not the most that I had spent on a single beer before, but I decided this would be an investment to throw into my beer aging fridge and forget about for a year, much to the chagrin of Lady Commander.

I’m not sure if this was the first major commercial test on the effects of SPAAACE on alcoholic beverages, but I do know that shortly after Ground Control was released, the Japanese Booze Conglomerate Suntory sent 5 whiskey samples to the International Space Station to be stored and eventually returned to earth for testing. I can see this whole thing getting out of hand quickly, so unless there is some serious proof or exceptional/distinct change in taste, I hope this doesn’t become much of a fad.

Watch this 365-ish times to get the full effect
Watch this 365-ish times to get the full effect

I poured 11-ish ounces of Ground Control into my frosty stein, Steve, The beer smells slightly sweet, but I am also getting a lot of soy sauce. Uh-oh. Maybe I aged it longer than I should have.

Lady Commander: It smells kind of like a Belgian to me. I feel like there is some fig in there.

Whoa. On first taste, chocolate and soy are the big flavors here. There is definitely a kind of wood, which I think is oak, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. Could it be the SPACE?! More likely, it is the star anise, which I’ve only had once, and it apparently wasn’t very memorable. For lack of a better term, the taste is very clean, as if it just kind of roll off your tongue after a moment. It is also more carbonated than most beers out of the bottle, but that was also likely a result of the aging process. I don’t really find the beer to be very distinct, but yet I really like it.

Lady Commander: It’s rather sryupy, like most Imperial Stouts, but I don’t feel like there is anything to really associate the heaviness with. It is not boozy tasting at all, which is surprising, considering the 10% ABV.

As it warms up, the chocolate fades a bit and the oak takes its place along side the soy. I also get a lot of caramel on the back end, which I would have to say is the hazelnuts finally getting through. It is still very clean and easy drinking. I don’t know if it was worth $20, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Low Commander was an a lot of beer last night when visiting Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, but very soberly wrote this piece during the week entirely on company time. He split a 22 of Ground Control  with Lady Commander to celebrate their 1 year anniversary last Saturday while watching The Venture Bros. His weekend will be spent playing Uncharted 4, as should yours, since it is really, really fun. This version of Ground Control has since sold out, but there is a new 2016 release that has been bourbon barrel aged. This can hopefully help you find one if you are so inclined.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers
Low Commander of the Super Soldiers
Low Commander of the Super Soldiers is a native North County San Diegan with an affinity for the Padres, beer, whiskey, punk rock, video games and the end of days. If you eat a fish taco with a fork in his presence, you may lose your hand.

49
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
16 Comment threads
33 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
JerBear50Inanimate Carbon Rod MarinelliBrettFavresColonoscopySpanky DatassSonOfSpam Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
SonOfSpam

I’ve been low-carbing it for the past couple weeks (because small household objects have begun to encircle me in an orbital fashion), so if anyone wants a review of Michelob Ultra:

Eh, it’s beer-ish.

Don T

Great story. For me, $20 for space beer’s a bit much. Maybe not for these pork rinds.
comment image

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
laserguru

Follow up with the knee doc today and they took the stitches out. 5 days later!
Yes it leaked a little but still.

Everything is going great and I see him again in about 4 weeks.

I also did a full shopping trip to the store after the doctor visit.

I’m bad.

I’m nationwide.

MikeWallaceAndGromit

Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA is one of my top beers.

scotchnaut

/screenwriters of Enter The Dragon trying to sell their script to movie executives in 1973

“This is a totally new kind of thing. Bruce Lee is really hot right now and he’s the star, no bones about it.”

“Over John Saxon? I’m not sure how audiences would react to this.”

“Look. This movie has tons of action, great stunts and a half-decent storyline focusing on revenge.”

“Does it have a black guy as one of the stars?”

“You bet.”

“Is he one of the first guys to die?”

“OF COURSE!”

“I think we’ve got ourselves a deal here.”

“YAY!”

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
theeWeeBabySeamus

She was very cute back when she used to be human.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Warning: mysqli_query(): (HY000/1194): Table ‘wp_ulike_comments’ is marked as crashed and should be repaired in /home/wp_qyse5z/doorfliesopen.com/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1811

She was very cute back when she used to be human.

theeWeeBabySeamus
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

That was above your comment; WEIRD!

Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli

There’s something about her that tempts me to make a terrible, terrible choice…

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

This guy has good eye discipline, but it took me 57 minutes to notice.

http://65.media.tumblr.com/6ea360259e38cc716afbe31739035a09/tumblr_n4cce4fYGq1rr1k5mo1_1280.jpg

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
scotchnaut

Most appropriate use of the phrase, “It’s just a scratch” in a movie?

NOT Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (the Black Knight) Has to be Bruce Lee during his showdown with Mr. Han.

scotchnaut

I’m at the part in Enter The Dragon when Bruce Lee shows off with the nunchucks.

King Hippo

Holy crap, if’n I paid $20 for a beer and it tasted and/or smelled like soy sauce, I would be right pissed off. Hell, if’n I paid $20, I would pretty much expect it to suck mah dick ,, no ofence.

scotchnaut

I’m all for microbreweries and all the good that is done economically by them but when you start to think about all the Archie comics you could have bought with a 20 spot back in the early ’70s…I don’t know.

King Hippo

I can usually get a good North Cakalacky 22-oz high ABV microbrew at the grocery store for $4-5.

Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli

Generally, if you’re being asked to pay $20 for a wine-sized bottle, it’s probably pretty unique. I’ve paid that for barrel-aged beers I really like because I can store them and see how they age.

But generally, no, that’s too much to pay for something that’s widely available and not particularly special.

King Hippo

Verily, I know that the fault is mostly mine, in that my palette ain’t that sophisticated. It’s like giving me a $200 bottle of wine, when I really can’t taste the difference over a $30-40.

I don’t like SWILL, I think maybe I just hit a “diminishing returns” wall faster than most.

Definitely keeps me from true hipster-hood. That, and you’ns should see how I dress myself…

theeWeeBabySeamus

tWBS, who is now apparently referring to himself in the 3rd person for some fucked up reason, might have photos.

Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli

Well, with wine there’s definitely diminishing returns in terms of price. To some degree this exists with beer, but not nearly as much.

I’ll also say that anyone who got to where I am picking up $20 bottles at one point had less sophisticated taste. I don’t think anyone goes right to the high-end beers since even a mid-tier beer can be a revelation if you’ve been drinking weak domestic lagers.

Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli

So, I’ll have to do my own Beer Barrel soon as I’ve come into possession of some rare beer.

Last night, I went to a fine Chicago beer bar called Hopleaf. (Visit it if you get the chance. It’s way up in the far north side of the city but their tap list is well-curated and there’s a fancy food menu too.) Anyway, I learn there’s a tapping of a Rodenbach Alexander. If I bought a glass, I was entered to win a bottle of it autographed by the brewer.

Lo and behold, I won! So, now I have this bottle of quite delicious beer than hasn’t been brewed this century.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Hopleaf is excellent. I endorse this post.

ArmedandHammered
ArmedandHammered

Thanks for the info, I will be in Chicago next week and welcome any suggestions and will add this one to the list to try.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Zed 451 for brunch. Do it.

Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli

FYI: It’s extremely popular so if you don’t want a wait, try an off-peak time (mid-afternoon) and you’ll find it’s much easier to get a seat/table.

Doktor Zymm

Shouldn’t Tricerahops be a triple IPA?

Also, naming your stein is a fine idea. I should name mine. This may require some thought.

Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli

I’d name mine “R. L.”

scotchnaut

“Jesus Rod, I’m right here!”

-Franken

scotchnaut

[hikes up pyjama bottoms]

Everyone here is oh-so fancy-schmancy. I’ll just stick with my Corona in a can, thank you very much!

King Hippo

NAFTA WOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
King Hippo

yeah, you don’t want to be the kinda sucker that pays almost TWO WHOLE DOLLARS FOAR panties ,, smh

/commando forevs

Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass
JerBear50
JerBear50

In the can is a good idea. I’ve heard it works faster that way.

Old School Zero

I saw the bottles of that around town, and I believe they even sold it at Ground Kontrol, an old-school arcade/bar here in Portland. I never quite could justify the price, not to mention I still have lots of 22 oz imperial everythings aging around that I haven’t taken out to drink yet. I figured it was sort of a gimmick like the Jefferson’s bourbon that’s aged out at sea. It does sound tasty, but maybe not $20 tasty.

laserguru

Next time you’re in the neighborhood I’m going to but you a Hyperion stout from the brewery.
It’s funny because it’s named after the sewage treatment plant that’s right down the road.
I always thought they should serve it with a light dusting of fresh hops and maybe a float of toilet paper to achieve maximum effect.

Nicely done!

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh