Homebrewers across the world search for exotic and odd ingredients to distinguish their beers for both fun and competition.  Big breweries tend to shy away from innovations, preferring simple and cheap ingredients to reproduce the same tasting product at different locations for mass consumption.  Micro-breweries are in somewhat of a golden age in the US right now, and are making headways in Asia as well.  Dogfishead Brewery in Delaware often uses unique ingredients in their brews, but have a knack for balance and a keen understanding of the American palate.  Well, in Japan, there is a nationalist attitude insinuating that anything Japanese is genuinely unique and can be used in virtually any situation.  Wasabi leaves and green tea leaves are two common cash crops with dozens of uses in Japan.  Green Tea is world known for a variety of health improvements, and wasabi is commonly associated with sushi but is found in a host of other products.   There is no doubt in the usefulness and greatness of wasabi and green tea… but not a main ingredient in beer.  Recently we purchased a few bottles of wasabi and green tea beers from Shizuoka prefecture, which is known to grow both in abundance.

Wasabi beer tastes like you would imagine… a bland base beer that washes down with a wasabi harsh aftertaste and not at all refreshing.  Green Tea beer was drinkable, but left your mouth dry like drinking plain unsweetened matcha… again, not a flavor one desires in beer.  But the adventure was worth it!  Though not all have failed at using these ingredients,  Baird Beer, a Japan based microbrewery, joined forces with one of the world’s finest craft breweries in Stone Beer from San Diego, CA to create a Green Tea IPA.  So far I have heard of it only available in America, but am on the lookout for it here!

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