Minamishinsyu: Golden Ale (Japan: Golden Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed gold. Small bubbled white head.

Nose: Apricot. Light hop tingle and bitterness. Pineapple. Banana and quite sweet.

Body: Apricot and golden syrup. Banana. Light hoppiness and bitterness. Gooseberries. Biscuits. Vanilla.

Finish: Elderberry hops. Light bitterness. Toffee. Slightly muggy hops at times. Lemongrass.

Conclusion: Drunk while hiding from the mid afternoon sun of Japan, this golden ale did the trick nicely.

Quite sweet and just slightly syrupy textured, it doesn’t dwell on that sweetness, instead layering tart gooseberry, pineapple and elderberry over it. Not a heavy dose, and not sharp but just enough to make it refreshing and fruity.

It reminds me of a slightly tarter summer lighting, a similarly refreshing summer drink, and nigh as proficiently crafted as that excellent beer. I say nigh as it has one, admittedly small, flaw. The finish has slightly muggy hops at times. Not so much to make it anywhere near a bad beer though. A frankly tiny thing.

The base mixes biscuits and vanilla into a toffee finish, making for a well balanced element for the understated but tasty hops to do their work on.

So, frankly a well made summer refresher, very tasty with well balanced bitterness infused into the ale. I could happily enjoy this for an evening. Maybe not perfect, but far above its minor flaws.

Very nice.

Background: I did not actually hunt this one out myself. Our Inside Japan tour leader in Japan, on hearing of my Craft Beer fondness, hunted this down for me in Matsumoto. A very good pick, thank you very much. Our tour leader earned the nickname Batman for several incidents that involved going above and beyond call of duty. I raise this glass to you good sir.