Review: Brooklyn – Sorachi Ace

Continuing with my theme of summer beers, the next beer I have chosen to review is this Brooklyn Sorachi Ace that has been sitting in my fridge since Easter.  I have a very limited experience with the beers from Brooklyn.  It isn’t that I haven’t had any of their beers, but looking at the catalog of beers available, I have really only had a few of their standard beers.  The restaurant that I work at has their pilsner and brown ale on tap.  Personally, it is just something about their pilsner I don’t like.  Perhaps I have had it too often, but there is just some flavor in there that I can’t stand.  The brown on the other hand is pretty good. (side story) Some people see we have a dark beer and a light beer and ask us to mix them together.  I try to explain that it isn’t like a black and tan, but they don’t really care.  So I have to frequently give people a pilsner/brown ale mix.

There were two big factors that attracted me to picking up this bottle in the first place.  First of all, this beer contains a sort of rare type of hops known as Sorachi Ace.  I say sort of rare because people just don’t normally use them. This is a type of hop that was discovered in Japan in 1988.  This hop variety is a cross between British Brewers Gold and Czech Saaz varieties of hops.  The most important aspect of it to a brewer is that it has a very lemony aroma and flavor to it.  Sorachi hops have been passed up by many other breweries because of this lemon aroma and flavoring.

The second big reason I decided to pick up this bottle was that it is listed as being a classic saison.  Saisons are a light Belgian style ale from the french speaking area of Belgium. They are also known as farmhouse ales because they were primarily brewed on farms in the late autumn months to be later consumed in late summer.  They were specifically brewed during this time period because there was no refrigeration.  Therefore, in order for it to remain cold during the fermentation, they had to wait for the winter months.  Despite this bottle coming at 7.2% Abv, they were originally brewed to be closer to 3% Abv.  This is because they were used to hydrate and refresh farmhands during the late summer harvests.  This was due to the lack of drinkable water available at that time.

The appearance of this beer as it is poured is visually extremely appealing.  It comes out a very light copper color.  I think lemon is a huge theme for this whole beer because the color even has a little darker lemony feel to it.  There is quite a bit of head that develops as you pour as well, which of course, is indicative of how much carbonation is in this beer.  Smell wise, it has a very summery feel once again.  It definitely relies again on the lemon backbone; however, you can pull out a little wheat feel in there as well.  I wouldn’t say a whole lot of maltiness comes through, but there is some hops on the end as well.

The taste once again head back to that lemon flavor on the nose.  I think that carries it throughout the full on taste of the beer.  However, midway through, there is a little bit of a heavier citrus flavor that kicks in.  I think that this is then finished off quite nicely by the hops, which of course, are also reliant on the fact that they have a lemon flavor as well.  To me there is an almost buttery feel that takes place in the taste as well.  For me, it comes right before the end of the flavor profile.  You get a slight butter flavor right before it hits the lemony hop flavor.  The hops are not as powerful as some hops tend to be with hop heavy ipa beers.  Here there is a nice little kick that adds to the flavor and doesn’t overwhelm the drinker.  I think this is good for those who are sort of venturing out of their comfort zone.  I think if you’re favorite beer is bud lite lime (you know who you are) then you might like to try this out.  It has a really good light summer feel.

One thing about the actual mouth feel is that your first sip will make you feel like you just took a sip of a highly carbonated alcoholic sprite soda.  The carbonation is almost a little overwhelming, but settles down nicely.  I think the only thing that I have bad to say about this beer is that it sort of feels like someone put some alcohol on a lemon and then had you suck on that lemon.  I think Brooklyn decided to just go all the way with the lemon taste on this beer; however, it is possible they went too far.  I can’t imagine drinking this beer in any different season.  It’s like drinking a corona in the middle of winter.  It just doesn’t fit the timing.  But, since we are in the right season, if you want a great summer drink, and you’re a big fan of citrus flavored beers, I would have to recommend this one.

Teacher Grade: B

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