Welcome back to Sip Northwest’s Beer Hall of Fame: a twice-monthly induction into a list of essential Northwest beers that have made their mark on the field and region.
When Odin Brewing founder Daniel Lee started his Seattle-area brewery in 2009, he had one initiative when constructing his shop’s signature beer, Odin’s Gift: range.
“The recipe started with a conversation between myself and my head brewer,” Lee says. “It wasn’t about a particular style. Really it was about developing the most versatile beer possible in terms of pairing it with as many different styles of food. We felt that if we could only brew one beer, we wanted to have the maximum reach possible.”
Odin’s Gift – formerly known as Odin’s Ruby Red – is a deep read ale that looks as if it would weigh down the palate but, in fact, drinks light. Most ales of the same hue are thick and even syrupy, but Odin’s Gift surprises. “We wanted that switcheroo,” says Lee, who worked for the Miller Brewing Co. in Wisconsin before moving to Seattle in the mid-2000s. “What we were trying to achieve is balance.”
Lee sold his first keg of Odin in 2009, with the first half-barrel going to Quinn’s on Capitol Hill. And since, the beer has fostered many memories for its happy consumers, an aspect of the brewing business Lee particularly loves. “Food and beer – and especially the two put together – usually are either the focal point or catalyst for some of my best memories,” Lee says. “Invariably, what were my most enjoyable moments in my life, you can point to the people there but also what we were drinking and eating.”
Indeed, beer, for Lee, is a cherished blessing – which is why he calls his flagship brew Odin’s Gift. It’s a name born out of ancient mythology. “The name harkens back to the minor legend where the god, Odin, tries to steel beer or ale from the land of the giants,” he explains. “He gets chased and has to discard what he got, so it spreads it out all over middle earth. That’s how the Vikings explained how fermentation started. Odin’s gift is fermentation.”