By Iron Chef Leftovers
Somehow, despite both its size and profile in the craft brew community, Brooklyn Breweries beers are not available in Seattle (You can’t find their beers in Oregon, Washington or California, but you can find them in BC, go figure). That is disappointing since they make some pretty special beers. Because of that, I made it a point when I was back in NJ over Christmas to seek out a few of their beers for transport back to the Pacific Northwest. One of the ones I was able to come by is their Sorachi Ace – a saison hopped with, wait for it…Sorachi Ace hops. I had it once a while back and I really liked it (this was really before I was familiar with Sorachi) so I thought it was time to try it again. The beer came in a 750 ml bottle and ran about $10.
A rather long read from the Brooklyn website:
Most Brooklyn beers are made with a blend of hop varietals. As a chef does with spices, we look to get the best qualities of each hop and create a harmony of flavors and aromas. However, a few years ago, our brewmaster ran into a hop unique enough to deserve its own moment in the sun. A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony.
The unique flavor of Sorachi Ace was bypassed by the big brewers, but we thought it was pretty cool. So we made a special beer with it, and added the beer to our Brewmaster’s Reserve special draft beer program last year. Most Brewmaster’s Reserve beers are only available for a short time, and then they’re gone. But we liked this one so much, we decided to bring it back and give it the star treatment. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a classic saison, a cracklingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but made entirely with now-rare Sorachi Ace hops grown by a single farm in Washington. We ferment it with our special Belgian ale strain, and then add more Sorachi Ace hops post-fermentation. After the dry-hopping, the beer emerges with a bright spicy lemongrass / lemon zest aroma backed by a wonderfully clean malt flavor
It tastes like sunshine in a glass, and that suits us just fine, especially with seafood dishes and fresh cheeses. It’s just the thing on nice summer days and beyond.
Style: Single-hop Farmhouse Saison
Malts: German two-row Pilsner Malt
Additions: Brewer’s white sugar
Hops: Washington-grown Sorachi Ace
Yeast: Our special Belgian strain (primary); Champagne yeast (secondary)
Alcohol by Volume: 7.6%
Original Gravity: 15.7° Plato
Calories: 208 (per 12oz)
Food Pairings: Pork buns, fish tacos, shrimp, smoked salmon, sushi, prosciutto, curries, salads, grilled meats and fresh goat cheese (such as Westfield Bulk Chevre.)
The beer pours hazy pale yellow in color with a foamy white head and shows significant notes of yeast and passion fruit coupled with some grassy/dill funk and hints of lemon peel on the nose. The beer starts out dry with a mild grain component and just a touch of hop character before moving on to notes of sugar and Belgian yeast and finally finishing long with hints of grass, lemon, yeast and dill and just a tinge of bitterness before lingering with a pleasant, tannic dryness. The hops and Belgian notes become a bit more pronounced as the beer warms but the grass and dill and the farmhouse notes also become significantly more pronounced, making this beer a pretty deep and complex item. Despite all of the interesting flavors, the beer is well balanced and you really don’t notice the alcohol until you try to stand up after putting back the entire bottle. A great beer showcasing Sorachi Ace with the added benefit of Belgian flavors,
Brooklyn Brewing’s Sorachi Ace shows its hand with 4 of a kind out of 5.