The stars look very different

I’m not the biggest David Bowie fan.

There, I said it, and cannot take it back.  But in all honesty, I haven’t met a tremendous amount of people who claim to be, actual, Bowie “fans.”

I won’t argue that he’s a talented musician.  I can’t say that he doesn’t have an impressive catalog of music.  I can also agree that it’s likely that he’s incredibly influential to many bands and musicians over a long-span of time.

But I put him in a similar category as Prince.  Both have a huge volume of music, are incredibly talented, are brilliant performers, but neither really struck much of a chord with me.

I’m likely to offend at least a few individuals with these statements, the good news is, that I’m not writing to critique music, I’m writing about craft beer.

The beer that I am reviewing is Ground Control, by Ninkasi Brewing Company. The name of this beer reminds me of the iconic line “Ground control to Major Tom,” in David Bowie’s song Space Oddity. (A song of David Bowie’s that I will admit, I really love.) Interestingly enough, the beer also highlights elements of its make up that have, allegedly, travelled into space, much like the tragic hero in the song, Major Tom.

I’m hoping that this beer achieves cosmic ratings.  Let’s step through the door.

Ground Control – Ninkasi Brewing Company – I don’t usually start with this, but I think it fair to offer Ninkasi’s description of this beer, and then proceed to my review.  Ninkasi states that Ground Control is a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, brewed with oregon hazelnuts, star anise, and cocoa nibs. Additionally, Ninkasi claims that the yeast used to ferment this beer travelled to space and back!  All of these ingredients sound like quite the appealing concoction, the important part of combining all of these flavors, and adding astronaut yeast, is ensuring that the result is delicious.

Here are my impressions:

The nose is thick and rich with dark chocolatey fudge flavors, and a hint of licorice.  The body is dense, thick, and viscous.  It looks like motor oil, with a thin, creamy ring around the outside of the glass after the head dissipates.  The mouth feel is heavy, and chewy, and very proper for a big, bold, imperial stout.  I’m partial to this type of mouthfeel, over the thin-bodied varietals.  The flavor is roasty, has elements of cocoa, and licorice, that compliment the nose.  Disappointingly though, the promises of bourbon barrel-aged flavor, and hazelnut are conspicuously absent.  I expected at least a bit of sweetness in the taste, but it is predominantly bitter, perhaps the space yeast neutralizes sweetness. Overall, it’s a decent offering, but the lack of barrel-aged notes hurts, especially when I was expecting some bourbon flavor.  As for the effect of the space yeast, I’m not sure I could discern any noticeable benefit in its travel beyond the atmosphere.  I would prefer the time spent going to space for the yeast, be spent on a longer stay for the beer in the barrel. 7/10

Both Bowie, and the beer, are interesting, and better than many, but overall, not incredibly impressive.

Humbly yours,