Beer: Kyoto Bakushu Matcha IPA
Brewery: Kizakura Co. (Kyoto, Japan)
Style: IPA – International
8.5% ABV / 70 IBU
Color-wise, this beer is utterly unique: It’s basically the color of leprechaun pee after an all-night St. Patrick’s Day bender. Seriously, it looks like something that you’d see bubbling in a beaker in a mad scientist’s laboratory, a brilliant translucent emerald color with a neon green head when poured into a glass. Some of this is probably due to the matcha tea powder used in the brewing process, but Kyoto Bakushu Matcha IPA lists blue and yellow food dyes on its label. Sorry, beer brewing isn’t there… yet.
This Matcha IPA also rates highly for its general flavor profile and begs the question: Why aren’t there more beers like this? Kizakura has achieved a fine balance here with a beer that’s like a Japanese version of an Arnold Palmer, with a 50/50 split between matcha tea and IPA. What’s particularly genius is that matcha powder, in its natural form, is pretty astringent; the bitterness of the matcha melds with the bitterness of the hops
Sure, it’s a bit gimmicky, especially with the eye-popping color. But there is a medium-intensity green tea flavor that comes through at first with a strong bitter finish. It’s difficult to assess what effect the hops have, especially since Saaz is a hop type known for its balance and mellow flavor. The bitterness probably stems more from the matcha, which isn’t typically paired with something equally bitter. Speaking of pairings, this Matcha IPA would be perfect with a fatty dish like pork belly or even ochazuke, the iconic Japanes dish of rice steeped in matcha tea; this imperial IPA will get you bombed, so don’t experience on an empty stomach.