Kiuchi: Hitachino Nest: Ancient Nipponia (Japan: Imperial Pils: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear grain gold. Still in body but with a good sized set of mounded bubbles mounted on top of a white head which leaves slight sud trails.

Nose: Lemongrass.  Smooth. Slight bubble gum. Slightly minty and quite milky. Some wheat character.

Body: Sherbet lemon. Quite thick texture. Cream. Slight honey sweetness. Barley and light bitterness. Slight greenery.

Finish: Greenery and light bitterness. Resin. Some cinnamon. Hoppiness that grows but never to a heavy degree. Slight ginger bread.

Conclusion: Now I love the sorachi ace hop and I have encountered this beer already on keg at Brewdog Camden. It’s going to be interesting trying it again on bottle to make the comparison.

The flavours here seem less evident that in the keg – especially the more unusual and distinctive elements such as the lemongrass resin and greenery. Here in the bottle it is smoother and more integrated, however it does feel to a degree that the more interesting edges have been rounded off where before they were still prickly and fun.

Drunk cool it is a less interesting beer, more simple and creamy though still with a distinct sorachi ace character . Warm it gets a bit more spice which combined with the increased resin in the finish makes for a more satisfying note to end on.  It also gets sweetness and gingerbread. All makes it what would be a good session ale if not for the abv.  It is very smooth and easy to drink though. This is especially emphasizes by the light cinnamon that helps balance against the lemongrass.  Worth sharing with friends over conversation as it is nice but doesn’t stand up to too much contemplation.

A mixed bag, nice, but despite that and my love of Japanese things I can’t give it a glowing review. The smoothed out edges does take away a lot of its fun. Much better in keg where it is interesting and fun, here it is ok but not great.

Background: The beer style is a bit of a guess. There had been two versions of this beer, a top and bottom fermented version.  From the flavour, year and country it was tried in I am guessing this was the bottom fermented version. I am a huge fan of Japan, and tried a lot of their budding craft beer scene while I was there. This however was picked up at Brewdogs Guest Beer section. I also tried it on tap at Brewdog Camden. The beer is a demonstration of Japan origin brewing materials with Sorachi Ace as the hop and Kaneko Golden as the barley. I love the sorachi ace hop and wish it’s use in more beers.