Here at The Brewclub, I’ve been reviewing British beers of late, and many of those – particularly from smaller breweries – stand little chance of reaching Brewclub readers in the United States.
I make no apology for that, we’re currently enjoying a golden age of craft brewing here in Blighty and there are simply so many great new breweries and beers to explore. If you’re in ‘the colonies’ and thinking of a trip to Britain, you’re in for a treat.
That said, there are some global beers on my beer rack, such as today’s offering – ‘Nipponia’ from Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery. Both Scott (here) and I (here) have favourably reviewed Kiuchi’s Hitachino brews in the past, and ‘Nipponia’ promises much.
Nipponia is described as an ‘Imperial Pilsner’, brewed using a rare Japanese ‘Kanego Golden’ barley along with exotic Sorachi hops. To date I’ve only encountered Sorachi hops twice before, and enjoyed both brews.
It pours a very pale Amber, with a fulsome brilliant white head that laces down the glass.
The nose is exotic, pineapple and honey, with traces of coconut, and just a hint of white pepper. Very special.
The flavour? Well, it’s very exotic, as well as the pineapple and honey, there are hints of satsuma in there, vanilla, nutmeg and bread. Each sip reveals something different. But bear in mind, this is like an exotic cocktail, under the tropical fruit and spice there’s a 6.5% ABV backbone, but there’s a hop bite in there to remind you.
To be fair, while the strength places it squarely in the ‘Imperial’ category, this isn’t a Pilsner – I can imagine the Burghermeister of Pilsen reaching to call his lawyer. Yes it’s a pale, crisp lager, but this is no more a Pilsner than any cheap supermarket brew with a phoney German name.
This is, however, a very special lager, it’s a real adventure for the palate, and worthy of four and a half Brewclub points.