1) When it comes to hops there is none more polarising than Sorachi Ace. Some people love it’s citrus and dill characters and some people hate them. But I’d be willing to bet not one person in the history of the world has ever gone ‘‘Sorachi Ace? Meh.’’
2) I fall well and truly in ‘‘love Sorachi Ace’’ camp. I just find it really refreshing but with a bit of unusual intrigue brought in by the dill flavours. So when I heard Mountain Goat’s latest Rare Breed – Japanese Cowboy – would be a Sorachi IPA, I was excited. So excited that I bought five long necks of it.
3) So you can imagine I was a little disappointed to find it’s not brewed with Sorachi but only dry-hopped. Took me a while to figure that out because the bulk of the label is written in Japanese – which is both cute and really annoying (it’s because the beer is a tribute to Mountain Goat’s new owners (or overlords as some cranky beer geeks might put it), Asahi – hence the Sorachi and the beer name). I cracked the first of those five bottles and find the Sorachi hop is quite understated. The dominant aroma is pineyness with a background of dill, while the Sorachi isn’t present in the palate either – but you can taste the Chinook and Simcoe that were used in the boil.
4) Perhaps the understated Sorachi in Japanese Cowboy is a result of its polarising nature. Putting it front and centre would likely turn off those who dislike the hop, leading them to avoid the beer. If that’s the case, then I’d suggest those people would be turned off by the mere knowledge that there’s Sorachi in it – I can hardly imagine a Sorachi hater thinking ‘‘yeah, I’ll give this beer with a hop I loathe a crack’’. But I can imagine a Sorachi lover thinking ‘‘hey man, where’s all the Sorachi?’’. Because that’s what I thought.
5) Look, it’s still a good beer. And I’ll drink the remaining four bottles. But this Japanese Cowboy is really not what I was expecting.
Categories: Beer of the Week