12 days of IPA: The Ones From Japan

Kids in a sweetshop. Except for sweetshop, read 'international bottled beer bar with random beers at stupidly cheap prices'. And for kids, read two drinkers who ought to know better but, thankfully, don't give a monkeys.

The recent Brewing Industry International Awards in Burton-upon-Trent offered up the bottled beer entries to festival goers. By a fairly early stage on the Saturday afternoon my partner-in-beer, Stoph McBride, and I had laid waste to some of the finest beers known to humanity. A bottle of Adnams Solebay for £2.50, bought to wash down a cheeseburger, was either our finest moment or a gross injustice to Fergus and the Adnams brew crew. And then we started to buy the odd bottle or two to take away.

My man-bag was soon bursting at the seams. A box was commandeered. Then the box was swapped for a plastic crate. And so a disgusting amount of beer was lugged home on the train. And within; Japanese IPA.

And why not? We'd tried a German IPA that was good. And the Japanese wheat beer was great. Germans make great wheat beer. So, by the most amazing leap of fallacious drunken logic, Japanese IPA ought to be stunning.

Tonight, I found out the truth. I can only just about handle the truth.

Sankt Gallen Yokohama XPA had the aroma of three-hour-old grass cuttings and tasted of lemon juice. These were the positives. There was also something un-nerving; wet tiles (shower, not urinal) and damp tobacco. Yet it was all strangely alluring.

In fact, when the flavour opened up it was rather good; lots of liquid caramel, strong bitter lemon/quinine, lurking carbonation kept things rolling.

Ise Kadoya Imperial IPA was possibly the weirdest beer I've ever tasted. Permit me this mind-dump: spicy plasters, toilet cleaner, warm lemon meringue, cinnamon, warm toffee, Chewits, fresh thyme. And I loved it all. According to the label, ten different hops were added at 120 different intervals. Mad as a box of frogs.

Today's Obviously Made Up Fact About IPA:

So prized was Burton water that Bass shipped it direct to India where, between 1859
and 1894, it commanded a higher price than the beer itself.

1 comment:

  1. It's not often you see those kinds of flavours all coming out of one beer! It really makes me want to drink it.