Yuruburu Wheat by Tamamura Honten
Japanese craft brewers are tenacious in honing their skills and adapting new flavors in an ever-changing market. Many breweries make small one-off batches to try new brewing methods or new materials (hops and malts) and can be hard to keep up with all the offerings available.
One particularly delicious, limited beer was the Yuruburu Wheat by Tamamura Honten, known for their Shiga Kogen line of beers. This wheat-y beer has been touted as the Tamamura Honten's answer to the New England IPA style and is a welcome change in the Japanese IPA market. Part of a limited release of beers (less than 2,000 bottles made) from Tamamura Honten’s line of Shiga Kogen beers, the Yuruburu Wheat was a celebratory beer for the head brewers' blog by the same name.
This hazy beer starts off with a nice mixture of fruit aromas including citrus, apricot, and papaya. It finishes with a floral, mildly bitter hoppiness that is accentuated by a slight honey sweetness.
Authors' Notes: I had heard about the New English IPA style that was sweeping the US and became interested in their use of lighter, more tropical tasting hops to create a delicious, intentionally cloudy beer with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. This beer was my first foray into the style and really made an impression on me. For someone who usually has hopped up bitter, harsh malt-juice, this was a pleasant surprise with a fair amount of fruit characteristics. A welcome departure from the hops I usually drink.
A special shout-out to Metropolis Magazine who will be publishing my article on selected bars and beers of 2017! Keep an eye out on their website for updates and also be sure to pick up a print copy of their magazine from one of their many pick-up points (map opens in a new window).