shoulderbroken (2828) - Tokyo, JAPAN - JUN 28, 2015
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tap at CBM Koenji. Lots of orange in the aroma and initial taste, quite spritzy, almost like a soluble vitamin c tablet. Bit wheaty too. Pretty nice! Light sourness from the citrus. Liked this more than I expected.
willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - MAR 28, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
20110328 50cl bottle from State Line. Hazy dark golden with small but lasting white head of tight foam. Aroma is bright and citrusy, lots of lemony and grapefruit, fresh parsley, shortbread, pizza dough, hints of white cedar. Soft on the palate up front, smooth and creamy wheat like a witte, but sturdy malts and easy, even carbonation of an APA. The finish comes quickly with a burst of grapefruit pith bitterness, and not in a hoppy way, but truly reminiscent of the skin of the fruit. Long lingering citrus and quite floral. Lovely, entertaining, a real treat.
ilovedarkbeer (2470) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - FEB 6, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle thanks to bu11zeye. Pours a dull orange color with a very small bright white soapy head. Some lacing. Getting notes of passion fruit, and lemon grass. Mouthfeel is bubbly and carbonated but the front flavors drop off very quickly. Kind of over carbonated.
jonno (2345) - JAPAN - JUL 26, 2009
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pretty boring all round. A decent ale flavoured with orange. Easy to drink, but didn’t want another.
rudolf (2344) - Buffalo, New York, USA - NOV 23, 2009
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle, thanks Swoopjones! Gold, white head. Nose is ginger, lemon, some hay like malt, spice. Flavor is lemon, ginger, green tea. A bit of fruit comes out towards the finish.
Trev (2014) - Lakeville, Minnesota, USA - JUN 5, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours hazy orange gold with thick white head.
Citrus/apricot fruitiness, light dusty malt.
Flavour is bitter fruits. Dried golden fruit sweetness underneath. Green banana tones, light spice in the maltiness.
mgumby10 (1856) - Jupiter, Florida, USA - APR 5, 2009
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a glowing bright orange color, with a small off white head. Smells of big citrus, I got a lot of praches and apricots in there. i suppose natsurnikans as well, whatever they are. The flavor is also pretty fruity, mixed with some nice sweet malt and sugars. Big peach flavors come through for me. Very refreshing and interesting little fruit beer. Makes me want to try a Japanese natsurnikan and see what it tastes like. Cool beer to try.
kiefdog (1826) - Tampa, Florida, USA - APR 19, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle courtesy of sebletitje. Pours a hazy caramel color with thin foamy whote head. Aroma is sweet and floral with notes of caramel, honey, spice, lemon, citrus, and hints of ripe fresh fruit. Flavor is sweet and malty with notes of lemon, citrus, spice, flowers, some fresh fruit. Light to medium body with a tangy finish.
Stew41 (1808) - Woodend, AUSTRALIA - JUN 25, 2011
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Hope I’ve got the right beet here? Was sold out in at the Baird Taphouses but on tap at Tadg’s in Kyoto. Golden Ale to my thinking (at least it looks that way) with a decent layer of spice. Flavours of orange juice (with subtle citrus) are very pronounced, almost to the extent you could be excused for thinking you are drinking fizzy orange juice. Points for the flavour intent but it doesn’t really hit my mark.
otakuden (1783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - AUG 6, 2009
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Japan is known for many things: anime, manga, sushi, sake, samurai, bushido, tamagotchi, onsens, whisky, and yes, beer. Until the last few years though, the Japanese beer scene was as dull, bland, and barren as ours was just a couple decades ago. Archaic laws stunted any desire and ability to craft brew on a small scale similar to here in the states. That is changing, and at a progressively faster pace. Just recently, Japan changed the minimum output a brewery had to produce to be legally recognized as a business. In the wake of and despite of, an outcry for good beer, for craft beer has fueled the growth of many artisanal breweries scattered throughout Japan. As with all things Japanese, imported and native, the rebellious and innovative Japanese craft brewers are drawing their inspiration from Europe and the West, all while retaining a unique Japanese personality when it comes to styles, tastes, and ingredients. This brings me to the Baird Brewery in Shizuoka, Japan and their Shizuoka Natsumikan Ale, aka Baird Summer Ale.
She poured a hazy, almost dirty straw into my glass. Little head or carbonation to speak of at the moment, but a few playful swirls produces an impressive white head. Still no lace though. Her appearance might be off-putting to some who rely too much on visual stimuli to formulate a pre-conclusive decision, but I am not such. At least, I try not to be. Her nose is tossed with mushrooms, oranges, moss, and damp leather while sour zest and lemon drops tease and tingle in the background. Further interesting players of sliced cucumber, mint leaves, buckwheat noodles, and dank, wet wood. Fascinatingly different, my curiosity has been piqued and my interest intrigued. This is a virgin beer voyage on many levels; multiple native Japanese ingredients that are foreign to one such as myself are evident in her nose which I am sure applies to her palate, also. All of my beer geek senses are tingling. My first quaff is clean, light, and mild. Gentle waves of cucumber and mint leaves leave a tinge of dryness on top of my tongue while spruce and herbs continue to flesh out her developing palate. What I had thought was clean is still true, but simple, not hardly. Her palate is a double challenge also in that I am trying to place my finger on as many aromas and tastes as I can, even despite the fact that a good many of them I have never heard of, touched, smelled, or tasted. A subtle undercurrent of sour esters carries her palate past my tastebuds each time, though she doesn’t have a long, lingering presence at all. Besides being clean, her body is soft and earthy, resembling the buckwheat noodles, mushrooms, and oranges I smelled earlier. Wow. I could spend forever trying to break apart this fabulous beer, and never be able to get everything down. This is as foreign as a foreign beer can get. Placing my pen and pad down, I close my eyes to savor the last of my Baird Shizuoka Natsumikan Ale, and as I open them, for just a moment, I am in Japan.
I seriously cannot rave about this beer enough. It may be very hard to approach for a lot of people because it is just so different, but for me, that draws me ever closer. It’s not often I get to enjoy a beer that so expertly represents its people, its culture, and its passion, and yet, at one time, it was as foreign in Japan as sushi and sake were here in America. Truly, we are an international world, and Baird Brewing is pushing the borders with their Shizuoka Natsumikan Ale and others.