Flying IPA - Echigo Beer Company
Echigo Beer Company, known as Japan’s first microbrewery for being the first brewery licensed after Japan changed its’ beer licensing laws in 1993, has updated its usual line-up with their Flying IPA. Usually focusing on ales such as red, white, and pale, the Flying IPA is a welcome change and offers more hoppy deliciousness with a semi-sweet barley backbone.
Echigo's Flying IPA is refreshingly sharp and bitter with a clear, golden body. First starting with heavy citrus and grapefruit aromas, this beer has an almost creamy mouthfeel and a light to medium body. The flavours are simple yet work surprisingly well together; bitter hop and sweet malt characteristics make this solid IPA stand out from other Japanese IPAs. This beer is heavily influenced by American IPA styles which is apparent in the high amount of hop character this beer holds.
Flying IPA can be found with selections of other Japanese beers in stores such as Seijo-Ishii, some Lawson convenience stores, and may pop up in more places in the future. Keep an eye out for the signature flying dragon image but also note the other side of the can has the brewery logo and, depending on the store, this may be what you see first in the beer isle.
Style: American IPA
Author’s Notes: This is one of my go-to beers at many convenience stores or my local Seijo-Ishii and is part of my Hop Trifecta. This beer is a definite push away from Japanese style IPAs and drives hard towards an American IPA style. It is good yet simple, and not overpowering in bitterness for me.
The design on the can was one of the first things that attracted me to this beer, with a unique bilateral print showing two sides to this beer. I believe the can may be designed this way in order to cater to two different crowds: the flying dragon imagery more for when the cans are exported overseas (or the local group of overseas travellers) and the brewery logo for the local Japanese consumers. The single design appeals to both markets (local and domestic).
Do you have a favourite Japanese IPA? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!