Sunday, March 25, 2012

Japanese Green Tea IPA

Stone Brewing Company is primarily known for its aggressively hopped, in-your-face style of beers ... with names like Arrogant Bastard and Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.  Stone is also known for its collaborations with other brewers.  The general formula of these collaborations is to have three brewers from three different breweries join together to produce unique examples of beer styles.

Stone Brewing Company is a well established and well recognized brewer.  However, its collaborations offer a great opportunity learn about little-known brewers.  One example of this is the Japanese Green Tea IPA, which Stone brewed with the Japanese Brewery of Baird Beer and the Guam brewery of Ishii Brewing.  I had heard of Baird Beer while working on my blog post about Kiuchi Brewery's Hitachino XH.  With its motto of "Celebrating Beer," Baird Beer produces a line up of craft beers with names like Wheat King Ale, Rising Sun Pale Ale, Suruga Bay Imperial IPA, and Shimaguni Stout. Baird also produces a range of seasonal beers using ingredients such as Japanese figs, mikan fruit and yuzu.  Unlike Baird Beer, I had never heard of Ishii Brewing, a small brewer on the island of Guam.  According to its website, Ishii brews only two beers ... Minagof Pale Ale and Minagof India Pale Ale.  The word "Minagof" means happiness in Chamarro, which is the language of the indigenous peoples of Guam.

There is definitely some "minagof" in the Japanese Green Tea IPA. The beer pours a perfect apricot/orange color, which is, in my mind, the ideal color for an India Pale Ale or Imperial India Pale Ale.  As the picture shows, there is a decent amount of foam that rests gently on top of the beer.  The aromatic elements of this beer are largely the same as an India Pale Ale, although there is a hint of green tea in the aroma.  The tea comes out a little more in the taste, but not too much.  Rather, it is the traditional flavor of grapefruit, brought about by the hops, that is the principal flavor of this beer.

At 9.0% ABV, the beer provides not only a strong grapefruit flavor, but a good sense of alcohol with it.  These flavors, with the alcohol, could pair well with something grilled.  Perhaps it is the suggestion provided by the name of the beer, but, this beer could pair well with yakitori or teppanyaki.  Whether it is grilled chicken skewers or beef cooked on an iron griddle, that seems to work with this beer.  For those lacking an iron griddle, the beer could also be paired with steaks or chicken cooked on a backyard grill as well.

The beer sells for about $7.99 for a twelve ounce bottle, which is a steep price.  However, this beer was brewed as a fundraiser, with the proceeds going to Japanese tsunami relief programs.  On that basis alone, it is definitely worth the price, but you get the added benefit of a very good beer.


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