Here’s a challenge for you: next time you’re passing through the beer aisle, or browsing Untappd, take a look at the hop-forward beers. The ones that rely on you getting as much flavor from those little green cones as possible.
More often than not, you’ll find them described as “juicy.”
It’s a sign of the times, whether inspired by the rise of fruited IPAs, the turbid juice bombs of New England, or simply our biological preference to pick out something that tastes sweet. It’s a marketer’s dream to have one catch all word that can elicit the exact knowledge of how a product is going to meet your expectations. If we were to choose a linguistic trend in beer that’s as hot as hazy pale ales, “juicy” would be the one.
So what about “grassy?” People love to talk about the smell of freshly-cut lawn or the purposeful feeling of spending a morning digging in the dirt. Less often we love it as a ear-catching phrase to describe a beer. It’s not going to get pupils dilated and mouths watering in the same way, but “grassy” does walk a fine line of enticing curiosity.
Sorachi Ace hops accomplish this wonderfully, but their distinct flavor profile of grass and citrus may not be for everyone. “Lemongrass” doesn’t hold the same cache as some of the sweet fruits you’d find on a tropical island in the Caribbean. But hot damn, Sorachi Ace is perfect for a beer in the spring.
Every whiff and sip is going to deliver the core of what the hop is about, a vehicle for grassy and herbal aromas and tastes.”
Step outside. The world is coming back to life. Plants are growing again. It’s time to walk through gardens and parks. See a baseball game. Breathe it all in.
There are few beers I have experienced outside of Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace saison that can match this feeling of rebirth. As an ode to its namesake hop, it might as well represent the season it fits so perfectly.
The careful balance of lemony characteristics, grounded by an earthen aroma and dill-like finish may put you in the middle of a farmers market or a sprawling meadow. Either or, it seems near impossible to drink this beer and not think of the sunny days and T-shirt weather that’s yet to come.
Sorachi Ace – a cross between three different hop varieties that was developed in Japan – seemed destined for American palates that love sharp flavors. Originally made for Sapporo Breweries, its profile was rumored to be too unique for the light lager producer. After it became commercially available stateside, Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, immediately knew how to showcase its unique properties.
“Sunshine in a glass,” is how Brooklyn likes to describe its Sorachi Ace beer, a perfect parallel to its springtime characteristics. Every whiff and sip is going to deliver the core of what the hop is about, a vehicle for grassy and herbal aromas and tastes. After the cold grey of winter, this is the beer that awakens your senses without being the same hop-focus flavor it’s easy to find on shelves across the country.
This is the post-”juicy” beer you need for the sundrenched days to come.
AB InBev is an investor in October through its venture capital arm, Zx Ventures