On our recent trip to NYC, Richard and I had the opportunity to visit Brooklyn’s own craft brewery for a quick tour. BB has been around since 1988 and is also, according the website, “among America’s top 40 breweries.”
The free brewery “tour” turned out to be more a show-and-tell. Turns out the real tour ($8) is on the weekends and includes a guided tasting of four different BB beers. Nevertheless, after the show-and-tell, we headed over to the adjacent hall to grab a couple of pints, where Richard’s fellow nerdist- partner-in-crime-and-our-host-in-NYC Matt decided to grab a bottle of BB’s seasonal beer called Sorachi Ace for later consumption. Matt, being the nice guy he is, gifted the bottle to Richard, who didn’t have any room in his luggage, so I ended up carrying it in my checked luggage.
Nothing brings me greater satisfaction than topping up all the calories I lost on an hour-long bike ride with this nutrient-rich elixir called beer. This being the last weekend of summer weather in Calgary, I decided to celebrate by opening up the bottle of Sorachi Ace that Matt gifted us.
And that’s why, you never let your good friend carry your beer for you. Cause I will drink it for you, biaaatch.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle was the amazing bouquet of aromas. I didn’t even have to bring the bottle to my nose – that’s how subtle, yet powerful the citrus-y scents were. Apparently, Sorachi Ace is a strain of hops that was first developed by a large Japanese brewery in 1988 that was a cross between the “British Brewers Gold and the Czech Saaz varieties” and exhibited really citrus-y notes. The strain now is now quite rare and only grown by a single farm in Oregon. The other thing I noticed was the “bottle refermented ale” description on the label….more on that later.
Here is my breakdown on the beer:
Appearance: light golden color hue with slight cloudiness most probably due to the yeast added post-bottling. Also, no matter how carefully I poured the beer, the head was impossible to get rid off. I had to wait 5 min. for the head to subside and then top up my glass. Belgian lace present – that’s the Lace-like pattern of foam, from the head of the beer, left on the glass after each sip.
Aroma: citrus-y with slight hints of peach and mango.
Taste: slightly sweet, smooth. Slightly bitter finish. The taste stayed with you for a bit. Carbonation was present, but since the beer is naturally carbonated (via the bottle refermentation), it was pleasant and mellow, unlike the sharp, pungent feel of forced-carbonation beer. The mouthfeel was great with a nice silky finish. A very nice, refreshing summer drink.
Palate: my palate isn’t very well-developed, so I have nothing really to add. I can’t taste things like grass, honey-dew, cilantro or other kinds of crazy shit the real pros taste. I think they make that shit up anyway…
Now onto the more technical stuff. As I mentioned earlier, this beer is bottle refermented, which essentially means additional yeast and sugar are added to the bottle prior to corking. This means that yeast is still fermenting the sugars and generating additional CO2 and ethanol. Bottle refermented beers, hence, do not have to force-carbonated, and thus, lack the sharp taste commodity beers have. Natural carbonation produces a more elegant, delicate mouthfeel that does not taste as harsh. Bottle conditioning also removes any oxygen from the bottle, hence prolonging the shelf life of beer.
Summary: refreshing summer drink that will leave you wanting more. Does a great job balancing all the flavours so no one particular component over powers the others. Natural carbonation and the 9.7% alc. content only add to the enjoyment. However, like all bourbon, it smells waaaay better than it tastes!