Minoh W IPA

Minoh Beer: W-IPA (Double IPA) (Japan: IIPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Ruddy brown to amber. Thick creamy toffee touched head.

Nose: Passion fruit. Jolly ranchers. Good hop bitterness. Pear drops. Quite citrus styled. Thick ice cream. Toffee. Nettles.

Body: Toffee. Good bitterness bite. Glacier cherries. Pears. Citrus tartness. Lime and kiwi. Caramel syrup. Milky chocolate.

Finish: Hop oils and hop bitterness. Popcorn feel. Cherries and fruitcake. Aubergine. Key lime pie. The bitterness is solid. Slight salted caramel. Chococlate and treacle toffee.

Conclusion: Of all the craft beers I’ve had in Japan this is the one that apes the American style most closely. Also, thankfully, the most proficiently as well.

A huge toffee malt backbone makes for a really sweet base that this citrus hops work off. Good bitterness, not an assault like XPA, but an integral and integrated part of the beer. It works pears, lime and passion fruit into the mix without any element seeming out of place, very rich in aroma and with flavour swimming deep in the body. The beer is as drying at the end as it is rich in the middle, with good hop character.

The sweetness takes on a deeper fruitcake flavour over time and the finish builds to an intriguing salted caramel flavour. These last few elements really help, before it was a highly proficient IIPA that didn’t stand out from the mass of similar beers in that style. The extra elements, though deviations from expectations for the style, give it a complexity and a quirk that are very welcome.

Really nice, showcases its American inspiration well, with a slight quirk. It doesn’t quite show the usual Japanese craft scene habit of making thee style their own with a different twist, which is both good in that it keeps more to expectations, and bad in that I have very much enjoyed the reinterpretations I have found here in the past few weeks.

Since it is both high quality, hoppy and comparatively easy to find in Japan I would call it a great go to for your hop bitterness infusion in Japan. A few quirks outside expectations and a show of good craftsmanship. Thumbs up.

Background: I’ve been seeing this around a bit, Minoh don’t seem to be a extremely common beer, but seems to pop up in food markets with reasonable regularity. This one was grabbed in Kyoto and drunk in Takefu . The ryokan room didn’t have a fridge by default but the owner was kind enough to provide one so I could chill down the beer slightly. Made with cascade hops, which made me smile and anticipate what should be a nice beer.