This sencha-infused IPA is the result of a collaboration between Stone Brewing Co., Ishii Brewing Co., and Baird Brewing Company. Brewed following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to help raise money for recovery efforts, they wanted the beer "to have a Japanese spirit." The result? Deliciousness.
Beer Details: Japanese Green Tea IPA, a Stone Collaboration Beer with Stone Brewing Co. (California), Ishii Brewing Co. (Guam), and Baird Brewing Company (Japan). (9.2% ABV, 70 IBUs)
Appearance: This beer pours a glowing hazy gold with a lemony-tinted head of foam. Held against the light, you can see lots of sediment suspended in the brew.
Aroma: First impression: hops flower. Second impression: honey. Third impression: a haunting jasmine floral aroma.
Taste: Oooh, yes! The upfront herbal and grassy character of the hops plays so sweetly with the gentle green tea flavors. The hops stretch all the way through the sip until the Sorachi Ace hops (a Japanese variety) pick up the baton and carry it into a citrusy finish. The malts are pretty understated, which is no surprise with an IPA-style beer. They add a clover honey and fresh bread foundation to the fun hops and green tea flavors.
Overall, this beer is surprisingly soft and floral. It's much more in the British style of IPAs than the hop-bomb American style. The alcohol shows up as some heat in the throat, but otherwise stays neatly tucked out of sight. It's strong enough in flavor and alcohol that I don't think I'd want more than one in a sitting, but it's also the kind of beer you'll find yourself craving at the end of the day.
Grab this limited-edition beer while you can and drink it up. It's not for aging and is best enjoyed while those hops are still super fresh.
Food Pairings: The subtle nuances and complexity of this beer seem to become less distinguishable with food. I like it as a refreshing after-dinner sipping beer. If you're planning to drink it with a meal, go for lighter food with clean flavors like sushi or poached chicken with a lightly-dressed salad.
Have you tried this beer yet?
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(Image: Emma Christensen)