Yona Yona Ale
Yo-ho: Yona Yona Ale (Japan: American Pale Ale: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow gold. Custard touch to the inch of loose white bubbled head.

Nose: Wheat. Jiff lemon. Fluffy hop character. Mild peach.

Body: Bitter. Lemon meringue. Apricot. Good hop character. Lime jelly underneath. Slightly syrupy texture and sweetness. Cream. Banana and toffee.

Finish: Custard sweet over peaches and peach flavoured hops. Lime jelly. Lemon pancakes. Malt drinks. If you wait a long time biscuits finally come out.

Conclusion: Now this is more like it. It is strange how similar yet different this is to Yona Yona Real Ale. There is similar apricot, peach and lime. Much crisper and with much better hop delivery, which is an important factor for me. Still some creaminess but much less, more towards a crisp and yes slightly syrupy texture.

The flavours feel brighter and progress more notably through banana and toffee from the lemon fresh opening. Pretty good range of flavour as well for such an easy to drink beer.

While I disagree sometimes with the heads of CAMRA (Britain’s Campaign For Real Ale), I’m not a real ale hater, far from it, but this beer helps demonstrate why I think that real ale isn’t the way to go for every beer.

Now, this isn’t to say that this beer is perfect, the hops are still slightly clingy at the end for one, though again noticeably less so than the real ale version. Also the syrupy elements can get too sickly. Lots of enthusiasm but lack that touch of polish and clarity.

Still, a very satisfying beer of fresh, hoppy and sweet flavours, with good toffee balance against citrus hops. A refreshing and refreshingly bitter beer.

And better than the real ale version.

You could do a lot worse, and it is pretty easy to find in Japan. I would consider it a standby beer for when you can’t find a specialist shop, and one to have when you just want to kick back and relax a bit. It’s a pretty nice go to beer for a few situations.

Background: So I’d tried Yona Yona Reale Ale, then in a random alcohol store I noticed they had a can of Yona Yona Ale. A chance to compare and contrast, how could I pass it up? Yona Yona Ale seems to be one of the easiest craft beers to pick up in Japan. It isn’t common, but it seems to show up with at least reasonable regularity. Anyway, for just such an occasion I had brought a half pint glass with me, so the beer could be enjoyed at the hotel.

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