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Belt's Beer Garden: Pour-egon Trail

This week I've got two brews from the great Northwest

In case you didn't know, July is Oregon Craft Beer Month. I decided the best way to celebrate that was to bring you guys beers from two of Oregon's premier breweries.

First up, a beer with big shoes to fill.

gigantic ipa

Gigantic Brewing Company is out of Portland, Oregon and has been around since 2012. They only have one year round beer: Gigantic IPA. However, they brew plenty of other beer the rest of the year, which are only available for three months or so and then never repeated ever if you see their stuff, try it! It's once in a lifetime. As far as their flagship beer goes (the one I found), it can be found in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, New York, Alaska, Hawaii, some parts of Canada, and the Chicagoland area.

This IPA is made using Cascade, Simcoe, Centennial, and Crystal hops so it's no surprise that it has a sweet, sugary smell with some citrus and floral backing. There is very little head, maybe a finger, topping the cloudy copper-colored beer, but the foam that is on top is quite thick.

On the first sip, the hops and carbonation tingled on my tongue. The sweetness and citrus from the smell made it through to the flavor. But the taste was not mostly citrus. Instead, it was more so a floral beer with some pine sneaking its way in there too that balanced out any fruit flavor.

The hops and malts worked really well together, creating a smooth and damn fine tasting IPA. There is a mild bitterness, at 85 IBU, but the malts hide the hops incredibly well. After that initial tingle on the first sip, this beer really settled down and became an easy beer to drink. That easy-drinking part could be dangerous though, as this packs 7.3% ABV into what tastes almost like a session beer.

Gigantic IPA is semi-dry, as there is dryness to it but nothing that leaves your mouth needed water. The aftertaste is minimal, but a slight citrus essence does remain for a minute or so between each tasting. Speaking of remaining, the small amount of head is retained really well, as it leaves a nice clear lacing around the glass with every sip that slowly slips into a spider web of beer tracings.

Overall, this is a very nice, very enjoyable IPA that I'm sure I'll be getting again. It's really flavorful, drinks like a lighter beer, hits like a regular IPA, and only set me back $5.49 for the 22-ounce bomber. What's not to like! 8.5/10


If you take the I-5 south 110 miles, you'll run into my next brewery.

total domination

Ninkasi Brewing Company is based in Eugene, Oregon and has been making beers since 2006. The first beer they brewed…Total Domination. They moved to their current location a year later and have expanded ever since. Right now they have seven Flagship Beers and are available in 12 states and provinces, mostly in and around the West Coast, but at their current rate should be expanding again soon.

Total Domination pours a cloudy, golden-wheat color and barely had any head topping the beer. There is a strong, but quite pleasant, smell of mangos and other tropical fruit with a small hop bite to it.

The first sip was delightful. It’s a slightly carbonated, slightly dry feeling but the taste is just like the smell: tropical fruits, with hints of flora and spices. There is a hoppy bitter after taste that does linger on your tongue for a bit afterwards, but it’s only 65 IBU, so it’s not too bitter.

A floral aroma emerged more after the first few sips but, for the most part, it didn’t change the flavors too much. The mango and guava flavors that lead the way upfront, followed by the floral notes, and finally the slight hoppy bitterness.

The malts and hops are balanced really well here, making for a nicely balanced, rather smooth, IPA. Unlike some beers, the flavors don’t change throughout the drink, which I was happy about, since it has a great taste to begin with.

Total Domination clocks in at 6.7% ABV, which means it’ll do its job nicely after just one. And at only $4.95 for a 22-ounce bomber even the price is right. Oregon is known as a state with many great beers and Ninkasi continues that tradition. This is a smooth, flavorful, slightly hoppy IPA that I hope to find again. 8.5/10