Nine Ladies Dancing, Yamaguchi Craft Beer, Hagi Yuzu Ale

The Yamaguchi Beer Company was founded in 1997.  Their claim of distinction from other breweries in Japan is their limestone filtered water and horizontal fermentation tanks.  This is different from what you see in most breweries that use the more common vertical conical tanks.  While these do take up more floor space in the brewery, customers claim to taste the difference in less of a dead yeast taste and less pressure.  For this ale Yamaguchi added Yuzu, a type of citrus.  It is common in Japan, but difficult to find in the United States outside of California.  Currently the US Department of Agriculture has a ban on the importation of fresh Yuzu and live plants.  Oranges have been a traditional Christmas stocking gift since at least the Great Depression.  As a child, I received an orange in my stocking every Christmas morning and New Year’s decorations in Japan all feature an orange.  

Fruit Beer (Base Beer: Pale Ale) 45-50° F (7-10° C)

Malt sweetness is that of white bread.  There are hints of a light peppery scent behind the malt.  Later smells bring up a bitter citrus scent.  The aroma I would associate more with the rine of an orange than the sweetness of the pulp.  The beer has a hazy orange color.  Lightly off white head that persists for a good while past many sips from the glass.  Malt sweetness is balanced with a bitter orange on the taste.  The sip finishes with a slight peppery almost earthy hop flavor on the tongue.   Fully attenuated with light mouthfeel and hops provide a pleasant finish to the sip.  The aftertaste presents a lingering aroma of bitter orange.  While enjoyable this beer would best be enjoyed with a food to balance the bitter orange taste.  

Fruit beers are difficult for me to pair because the style can be so broad. A heavy or light fruit flavor may be present or the fruit may have fully fermented leaving more of the fruit’s bitterness all falling under the same style. After tasting this beer with gives a dominant bitter orange flavor and aftertaste I would pair this with a milk chocolate sampler box. A dark chocolate sampler and this beer would be too bitter to enjoy. The sweetness of the milk chocolate will provide balance and the different fruit fillings and nut combinations will give several sensations to compare. This should give the taster enough different types of chocolates and fillings to find something they love.

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