As part of their 2011 Collaboration Series, Stone’s head brewer Mitch Steel got together with Toshi Ishii of Ishii Brewing Co and Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing, to make a Japanese Green Tea IPA. Together they brewed a huge beer to benefit the Tsunami Relief effort. This IPA features five different hop varieties: Warrior, Crystal, Pacifica, then dry hopped with Aramis and Sorachi Ace.
To put the icing on the cake, they also dry hopped it with Sencha, a whole-leaf green tea from Japan. And, in typical Stone fashion, they made it big, brewed at 9.2% to commemorate the 9.2 magnitude earthquake. The five hop varieties and addition of green tea makes this not your everyday IPA.
When I’m not drinking beer, I’m usually drinking tea. This doesn’t really taste like a cup of green tea but its addition definitely creates an interesting difference from a standard IPA.
The beer pours light amber/orange color that just screams complexity. There is a heavy hop aroma but a lot of the usual IPA sweetness is cut by the earthiness of the sencha green tea. It’s still very floral but distinctively different from the classic Stone IPA. The green tea aroma comes out a bit more as it warms but still stays somewhat muted throughout.
The crazy combination of hops makes the beer taste really fresh but also makes it hard to distinguish any individual flavor. Initially you get hit with the citrus taste but it’s quickly cut by the earthy bitterness of the green tea and the alpha acid bitterness of the Warrior hops. It finishes smooth and delicious and lingers nicely to tease the palate until the next sip. The 9.2% alcohol is hardly detectable, making this beer dangerous in large quantities.
Stone, Ishii, and Baird really brewed a winner with their Japanese Green Tea IPA. Get it before it’s all gone and let me know what you think.
Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
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