Local Beer
Shinsyu Natural Beer: Blond Ale (Japan: Golden Ale: 5% ABV)

(According to ratebeer aka Yo-Ho: Yona Yona Local Beer)

Visual: Banana to grain. Large inch of frothy bubbles packed in.

Nose: Banana sweets. Apricot. Banana itself. Ice cream and vanilla. Very light hop character. Cinnamon. Light soil.

Body: Sweet. Banana syrup. Passion fruit. Greenery. Hop oils and oily bitterness. Apricot. Resinous.

Finish: Cinnamon into bitterness. Greenery and hops. Slight hop oils. Soil.

Conclusion: Since I drunk this shortly after Minamishinsyu Golden ale it is hard not to compare the two. Minamishinsyu was fresh and tart while this is more earthy with somewhat of a British hop feel. More syrupy textured with the banana being used more as a base. This uses a much more hop oiled texture to deliver a heavier and less citrus filled bite.

I think I would be kinder to this beer if I wasn’t comparing the two, they have different aims, take on the style and strengths. However with the two effectively side by side I can’t help but think this is the weaker beer.

The syrup is a bit too strong and the hops not quite showy enough. It is workmanlike, and if you are into the heavier, more resinous feel then this does deliver. As an overall package however it feels too leaden. The flavours are there but it feels like the extra weight muffles rather than pushes them.

So, a bit sub par. I mean it isn’t wasabi beer level sub par, just a bit off that’s all.

I wouldn’t recommend it unless the alternative is Kirin Ichiban. If that is the case this beer beats it easily.

Background: I grabbed this at Matsumoto’s train station. Seriously, what is it with Train stations in Japan having a better beer selection than any but dedicated craft beer shops? Anyway it was a whimsy grab, and only on looking it up did I find the beer was an alias for Yona Yona Local Beer. I’ve been drinking quite a bit of Yo-Ho beers so far this trip. Anyway drunk after Minamishinsyu Golden Ale, with just a short break for a dip in the ryokan’s onsen in-between, so I was feeling quite refreshed and tingly by this point.