Written By: Morgan Ellsworth
Ninkasi is the Sumerian Goddess of beer. Total domination can aptly be described in several different ways, all of them seemingly involving the diabolical plans of evil masterminds. When you combine the two, you are left with one of the best India Pale Ales on the market in Ninkasi Brewing Companies’ Total Domination.
Ninkasi hails from Eugene, Oregon, a small college town in the Willamette Valley. When it comes to beer, more specifically microbrewed beer, Oregon is considered by many to be second to none. Many microbreweries open in the state with the dream of making their own mark and most fail. So when Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge brewed their first batch of Total Domination IPA in 2006, there was no guarantee that it would be anything more than a drop of water in a crowded lake. However, the beer caught on like wild-fire and quickly became one of the most popular brews in Oregon, much less Eugene, where it is now a staple of every bar and tap house. Ninkasi has expanded greatly since its inception and now boasts a cult-like following up and down the West Coast.
Total Domination is a tremendously balanced IPA. It tops out at 65 IBUs so the hoppiness does not over power the palate, as many IPAs are wont to do. Even with the (relatively) low amount of hops, this beer is not a push over. It has a strong finish that is characteristic of a classic IPA but when meshed with the opening floral notes, it is one of the smoothest. It is dangerously easy to drink four or five of these without even thinking about it; which, with a 6.7% ABV, can lead to some fantastic situations. I would not call this beer overly complex but that is the beauty of it. The simplicity of this beer paired with the brewmaster’s ability to perfectly meld the ingredients makes this IPA one of a kind. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone if you can get your hands on it.
Currently, Total Domination is exclusively available on the West Coast. Ninkasi distributes to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and California but some online sites will ship to just about anywhere. It is not easy to find on draught in places outside of Oregon (where if it isn’t on tap, you think less of the establishment) but it is slowly gaining a foothold. I just found it at one of my favorite beer bars, Mad Dog in the Fog, over on Haight and Fillmore in San Francisco. If it is good enough for that bar, then you know it can and will be everywhere soon enough. If you are making a trip out West or live out here and have not yet tried this fantastic IPA, I strongly suggest you do.