Total Score: 6.4/10
Wabi-sabi is a concept I know all too well being a Zen Buddhist [no joke, I am a Zen Buddhist – I bet you thought I was kidding around when I said that… pfft, typical of my readers, I’m not always about humour… maybe 99% of the time I am but I’m in serious mode now]. Wabi-sabi the Japanese aesthetic of “flawed beauty” of which a good example can be found in those Zen paintings of the circle painted with a single brush stroke – the circle is never perfect because beauty is found in the smallest imperfections, just as life is immaterial and impermanent so too is beauty. Heavy stuff? Anyway we have Baird Beer to thank for the new style “JPA” or Japanese Pale Ale with this Wabi-sabi brew that contains green tea and wasabi – should be a treat!
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Presents an intriguing cloudy brown-tinged amber body with a boisterous fluffy white 2 cm head that soon drops down to 1 cm. Baird Beer make note of the fact that their beers are unfiltered and re-fermented in the bottle and I say “yes, bring it!” to that. 8/10.
S: Quite difficult to place the aroma, it’s a bit musty – that would be the yeast – upfront, some earthy tones, a hint of green tea and some nutty notes. Not getting wasabi in the aroma though I suspect they only added a fraction of wasabi to the wort as wasabi can be quite overpowering. 7/10.
T: Flavours are subtle and earthy with characters of musty yeast (in fact the yeast is a bit too dominant in this brew) with light biscuit malt, a hint of pepper spice (from the wasabi I suspect) and not much else… finishes quite dry, leaving the palate with anticipation of the next sip. 6/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a dense enough carbonation. 7/10.
D: It’s a delicate Japanese beer to be sure, but one that is too delicate – there’s a dynamite flavour combo in the ideal of beer with green tea and wasabi added, however Baird (who are a top-notch brewer) for some reason or another have failed to capture these classic Japanese staple flavours. I did suspect as I was drinking it that maybe the re-fermentation is what killed the flavour with too much yeast – I’ve had the exact same issue with my own homebrew and some Coopers Sparkling Ales which are well past their “best after” dates – yeast in the glass is good 9 times out of 10 but then there is that one bad batch… oh well, ‘A’ for effort. 6/10.
Food match: I imagine a non-yeast-taken-over bottle of this would go perfect with a salmon sashimi bento box.