Kozaru IPA by Minoh Beer
The Kozaru IPA from Minoh Beer is a delightfully grassy session IPA that can be found in many bottle shops around the country. The beer features a monkey on the label, contemplating the beer in its hand and with a hop on its head, which is supposed to be the smallest of the Minoh monkey line (which includes Osaru IPA, Bosuzaru IPA, and other seasonal variants).
Opening up a bottle of the Kozaru IPA give way to pine and grapefruit-like aromas. This beer pours a hazy, golden and light caramel color with a white, short-lived frothy head. There are hints of other fruits that are readily noticeable in the flavor of the beer (more on that below). Allowing this beer to breathe gives rise to some grain aromas that make you want to just drink some!
The Kozaru IPA tastes initially of an earthy malt with a mild sweetness but quickly makes way to juicy hoppy bitterness. For a session IPA there are noticeable bitter pine flavors and a bit of grassiness that help blend some of the sweeter malt flavors. This beer finishes with a crisp, dry biscuity flavor that leaves a very mild aftertaste. Overall a delicious beer that can be very enjoyed thoroughly.
Style: Session IPA
Author’s Notes: I was first introduced to Minoh Beer while managing a beer bar in Tokyo. They have always been a solid brewery with a sublime selection of beers, including one of the first W-IPAs I have ever had (and one of my favorites). The Kozaru IPA and its fuller-bodied relative, Osaru IPA are must-drinks when on the menu.
Small language note, “Saru” is Japanese for "monkey"; adding an “O” in front of it implies a large monkey while, conversely, adding “Ko” implies small or younger. So the Osaru IPA is more aged, rugged, heavy, bold while the Kozaru IPA is more balanced, medium, and growing.