Stone, Baird, Ishii Japanese Green Tea IPA

This comes from three different breweries. The reason I considered it at all was because of Stone Brewery, which is a very well-known brewery in California that has produced some good beers in the past, and they have the respect of the craft brewing community, even though I've really only seen a glimmer of hope in their beers so far.

It does not look like tea. At least, it looks like no tea I've ever had. Instead, it's an excessively hazy amber with an eggshell white head. The aroma is all sorts of West Coast IPA. It has floral and pine hops just perched atop orange and lemon bliss on a fresh baked bun. I can't smell any green tea, but tea doesn't exactly have an overpowering smell, so it's not surprising.

First sip is not what I'd hoped for. It's got hops that have aggressive bitterness and the malt is doing nothing to resolve the issues. Instead, the orange is permitted to dance around behind the hops like it wants to get someone's attention, but it really can't be seen from that far away. As it warms, the bitterness seems to subside a bit (on subsequent sips) and the orange can be tasted along with the biscuit.

A larger gulp might help this whole thing out. Tip-in is more lemon than orange with carbonation predictably lighting up the sides of the tongue. Then the middle is actually a buttery biscuit that is very nice and easy to drink. It has all that malt with a hint of those hops that really make the mix a delight. The finish contains the bitter pill. Warmed up as it is, it's not quite as big of a bitter hunk as it had been, but it's still not nice. Sweetness sits on the lips afterward as an apology for the bitter assault.

Bottom Line: A quirky beer with a lot of positives to talk about and enjoy.

2.75/5

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