Name: Genmai Ale
Brewery: Ise Kadoya (Ise, Mie Prefecture, Japan)
Style: Specialty grain
Source: The Beer Store
My favourite way to feel about a beer when I first taste it — especially at this point in the blog when things can start to get a bit same-y — is puzzled.
It seems the more beer I drink, the less frequently I get surprised or confused by new flavours. It does still happen fairly reguarly because beer is amazing like that, but it’s not the same as five years ago when even flavour itself was a novelty.
Anyway, what I’m getting at in a roundabout way is that this beer took me by surprise, and I liked it.
The first surprise was that it gushed like crazy when I opened it. Unfortunately I have this bad habit (acquired during my Aquila-swilling high school days, I suspect) of shoving my mouth over the bottle and trying to drink all the foam, rather than just putting it over the sink like an adult.
So there I was choking on foam when I got the second surprise – the beer was sour! Not mouth-puckeringly sour like a Lambic, but sour enough that I panicked and thought that there might be something seriously wrong with it and nearly spat the foam all over the kitchen floor. (Didn’t.)
Once it had settled down and I’d poured what was left into a glass I discover that it really was quite an unusual beer. Genmai means brown rice, which this is brewed with, and I was expecting something similar to the Moromito Soba Ale.
It wasn’t anything like that. The aroma was subtle, kind of like a dusty old bag of fizzy sherbert lollies. In the mouth it was really interesting — sort of Belgian tasting with some fruit (pineapple especially), with more mustiness and a tart finish. It was really nicely balanced (sweet and sour with a little hop bitterness, but none of it aggressive), and quite refreshing with a medium mouthfeel.
It’s hard to explain actually, but I liked it, and I’d recommend anyone who likes uniquely flavoured beers to try it out. I also recommend you don’t do as I do and just open it over a bloody sink.