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The Birth of Sleigh'r

Dec 19, 2014 Comments (0) The Birth of Sleighr

When we first started brewing winter seasonals, we kept running into the same problem: they were just too darn good to only keep around for a few months. We wanted to turn them into the beer gifts that keep on giving all 365 days of the year. So, we graduated each holiday ale from a seasonal release to fulltime status. First with Believer. And then with Oatis.

In 2009, we were determined to wrap ourselves around a wintery beer that we would save exclusively for the colder months. No matter how delicious it was. We decided to try brewing something a little different that would pair really well with frigid temperatures, snowy adventures, and rockin’ tunes in front of a cracklin’ fire.


We also wanted to make something totally metal. (Fun fact: we had the name for this rockin’ brew before we had a recipe.)


Believer, our first winter seasonal, was born from a love for Deschutes’ Jubelale and Sierra Nevada’s Celebration. As much as we clearly dug this style, we thought playing around with a new yeast strain might be the perfect avenue to make something new and exciting. So our brew crew grabbed some Alt yeast and worked on developing a beer that would be a little richer, a little toastier, and a little maltier. Not really dark, and not really amber. They figured it would be a good departure from a sweeter, caramel winter beer while still totally vibing with the season.

The result was the beer we still know and love as Sleigh’r. Our founding brewery will tell you "it captures everything in one." A little winter, a little metal, and a lot delicious. And, despite many protests from within and outside of the brewery, has remained a beer that is only available in winter and not year-round.


Whether you were naughty or nice (Sleigh’r Santa probably prefers the former), this seasonal release has reappeared every winter to make sure this is your most wonderful time of year.

Team Ninkasi celebrates its annual release by having our founding brewer dress up as Santa and kick off a killer concert with a "YO! YO! YO!" Which, we think we can all agree, is a little more exciting than Santa's traditional ho-ing.

And in the spirit of a beer that "captures everything in one", we spend the winter pairing it with everything from snowboards to chili to vinyl. We recommend you grab a few bottles and spend the rest of the winter doing the same. 

As to whether we succeeded in brewing something totally metal, we'll leave you with this.


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