Craft beer Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea India Pale Ale (IPA) is brewed with Japanese sencha green tea and five different hops, including Sorachi Ace, a varietal originally developed in Japan.
The IPA is sold in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at restaurants, bars and retail outlets in markets where Stone beer is sold.
After the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Toshi Ishii, the owner of Ishii Brewing Co. and a former Stone Brew Crew intern, contacted Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch to propose collaborating on a beer that would raise funds for recovery efforts.
A total of US$64,000 was donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society as a result of the project.
Koch discussed the collaboration with Stone President and Co-founder Steve Wagner and Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele, and suggested Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing Company as the third collaborator, since he had met and visited Baird’s brewery in Japan a few years earlier.
Steele, Ishii and Baird decided to harness the Japanese food culture’s affinity for tea by brewing an IPA that would feature green tea from Japan.
“This beer was beloved when it was first released, but due to the hop availabilities and creative nature of collaborations, we decided to swap out the original beer’s now very rare Pacifica hops from New Zealand for Helga hops from Australia,” explains Steele.
“We brewed exactly the same recipe, targeting the same original gravity; however, since we’ve improved our brewing and fermentation processes, the alcohol by volume rose from 9.2% to 10.1%.”
“The result is a heftier beer that perfectly highlights the earthy spice flavors that the Japanese green tea provides.”
The beer has a massive hop presence, both in flavor and bitterness.
It was dry-hopped twice, first with Aramis, Crystal and Helga, all of which contribute spice notes and the aromas and flavors of mango and pineapple.
The second dry hop consisted of Sorachi Ace hops and the Japanese green tea addition.
Sorachi Ace provides lemon and dill flavors, while the tea provides dry, herbal and rich green tea notes.
With a mild barley character thanks to the exclusive use of pale malt, the brewers were able to highlight a hop profile that is harmoniously paired with distinct green tea qualities.