2/29/2024: Pipeworks Brewing Co.'s Ninja Vs. Unicorn

6:05 PM

I'll bet you thought I forgot about the blog this month, huh? Well, here I am with a bit of a Leap Day miracle for you. Before I turn my attention to my typical March fare (bocks), I have a single beer to do up this month.


An unopened can of Ninja Vs. Unicorn on a bookshelf.

I was recently at a local bottleshop looking at single cans and bottles when a guy (who was not an employee of said bottleshop) recommended today's beer to me. "It's an IPA," he cautioned. I told him I liked IPAs and happily put the can into the sixer I was building. That can was a pint of Pipeworks' Ninja Vs. Unicorn, aka today's beer.

Pipeworks was started by some buds in Chicago in 2012. The goal was to make beers that were as creative as they were high-quality. Their brews can be found throughout the majority of the Midwest and into the Mid-Atlantic. Pipeworks' about page lives here, just in case you'd like to check it out.

Since there's not a place on the brewery's website showcasing their beers, we're turning to Untappd for our info on Ninja Vs. Unicorn. A double IPA brewed with an amount in excess of five pounds of hops per barrel, this unfiltered ale clocks in at 8% ABV. And that's all the information we have at our disposal. Let's see what we can find out through the beer blogger's scientific method (what I'm now calling "just drinking the beer").

Cracking into my can, I'm finding myself immediately pleased with its bouquet. It's fruity and sweet, filled with orange, passion fruit, guava, pineapple, purple grape, strawberry, and bubblegum. Layered beneath this soaring sweetness is pine, an aroma akin to that of a frosty morning, and a hint of booze, denoting that 8% ABV.

Purrl refused to give my can a single whiff. This could be because she's still recuperating from a brief stint at the emergency vet's last weekend (she'll be fine). I guess I'm saying don't take this as her definitive rating.

Purrl cat refusing to sniff my open can of beer.

Ninja Vs. Unicorn's flavor profile's more tart than the bouquet makes it out to be. There're lemon, pine, and big grapefruit flavors here. But, as I sit with the ale, I'm finding more than what it presented in that initial taste, and some of that sweetness from the bouquet comes around: strawberry, orange, passion fruit, and mango. The finish is rich, verdant, and almost sappy pine with a touch of booze, accompanied by a residual strawberry flavor lingering on my lips. I have to tell you, this is a damn tasty beer.

The mouthfeel's smooth, almost cream-like. There's a bit of alcohol burn in the back of my throat that stands in contrast with the ale's softness.

This beer's like being outside on my porch on a summer evening, watching the sun set and the fireflies begin their nightly dance in the front yard. It's a break after a long day of outdoor work when the kid's already in bed and I'm winding down before turning in myself. It's a quiet calm after a rush of activity and excitement.

Pipeworks has made something special with Ninja Vs. Unicorn. I paid $3.49 for my pint and I'd've gladly paid more than that for a beer of this caliber. The DIPA's an easy 9.5/10. Kudos to the dude at the bottleshop for recommending it to me!

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