The second in my IPA week brews comes from Japan. A place that has quite a strong beer community and craft brew scene. One thing I love about Japan, is when they embrace something, they really go for it. Some of the beers coming out of Japan are amongst my favourite, and Lady Ale will never turn down a Hitachino’s Nest Sweet Stout. It is also a country that has had some recent tragedy. As I said with my Christchurch beer reviews, I think it’s important to support the economy of places that have had disasters – so should you come across some Japanese beer in your bottle store, give them a go and you might find some really interesting beers.
Baird has ok distribution in Melbourne and you can find their beers at the usual places, Slowbeer in Hawthorn is where I got mine, and I’ve tried some of their other brews at Josie Bones, The Courthouse (North Melbourne) and Beer Deluxe.
This is an IPA and is 6% abv in a 360ml bottle. I think it was around $8.50 for the bottle.
How does it look?
I really like Baird’s labelling. They have a distinct Japanese watercolour look which pleases me.
In the glass it’s a murky brown, not the dark and deep reddish brown as my previous review, the Bridge Road Bling IPA, but just a shade lighter than the colour of a brown beer bottle. The head is bright white and looks very lively. It stays around as it is drunk as well.
How does it smell/taste?
When poured it quickly becomes clear that it has all the characteristics of a late hopped IPA. The hop smell is bright and clean. If I was to guess I would say they are Nelson Sauvin Hops, which are very fresh cut grass. These aromas don’t hang around too long and the sweet malt starts coming through.
It tastes very similar to the smell. Grassy initially which quickly dissipates into malty sweetness. A long malthy sweetness that finally gives way to a decent amount of bitterness, before drying out and leaving a slight diacetyl (buttery) feel . It might be slightly unbalanced for some, as it’s quite sweet before the bitterness appears, but I really enjoy it. All the elements are quite clear and have their own space to breathe. I wouldn’t say it is as balanced like yesterday’s Bling IPA, but that is why it works.
When should I drink it?
Spring time is on the horizon and you might start moving on from hearty winter food to some bright and refreshing salads. This would go amazingly with a Vietnamese Green Mango salad. The fresh mango and chilli kick would go well with this bright and sweet IPA.
This is a really good IPA. The long sweet followed by the late bitterness is something I recall from a couple of the Baird brews and it’s something that at the right time I find perfect. For me, it doesn’t work at the end of a night after a handful of beers, but as a starter paired with spicy Vietnamese salad, it would be an absolute delight (yep, I said ‘delight’ and I stand by that).
You can find my first IPA Week review here: http://aleofatime.com/2011/07/31/ipa-week-2011-bridge-road-brewers-bling-ipa/
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