Brewery: Baird Beer
Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer
ABV: 6.5 %
Score: 3 out of 5
I’ve only had a handful of Japanese craft beers in my time. That’s because, other than Hitachino Nest, beers from the land of the rising sun just aren’t that common around these parts. The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale is a Shelton Brother’s import, so I expected a lot more from this. The bottle claims Mikan Ale is unfiltered, re-fermented in the bottle , and naturally carbonated. They also recommend that it is consumed within 12 months of package date. Unfortunately, this bottle is not dated, so this bottle is probably well past the 12-month mark.
Now, you might think I am just being an ass by saying that, but when i poured my beer, chunks of what I am assuming (maybe hoping) is yeast sediment fluttered all around my pint glass. I understand that being unfiltered, bottle fermented, and then re-fermented will result in some sediment, but look at the picture to the right! That’s just ridiculous! After a few suspicious sniffs, I came to the determination that it was safe to drink.
Before I drank this beer, I had no idea what a Mikan was. Based on the image on the label and the faint smell of tangerines on the nose, I was determined it had to be some sort of citrus fruit I’d never heard of. And I was right! A quick Google search proved my theory correct. The rest of the nose on this ale was mostly sweetness I couldn’t quite place, bread and yeast aromas, and oddly enough, a very faint pink Hubba Bubba bubblegum sweetness to boot. That last one threw me off a bit.
There is quite a bit going on here! As the array of flavors barraged into my tongue, I immediately wished it was a fresher beer. Becuase despite all the flavors I was able to detect, the staleness of old beer was prominent. Right off the bat I got a nice wallop of tangerine, orange rind, some peaches and other citrus bitterness. I seem to detect some wheat in there as well, but very faintly. The body is full and creamy which is very well rounded off by a nice amount of carbonation. Towards the end, the citrus flavors are laced with herbal notes and some malt sweetness. The finish is a little acidic and tart from the fruit, leaving behind a pleasant dryness as it goes down. After a while, as the beer warms, I detected some very strong honey flavors. The citrus (possibly hops) bitterness lingers on the back of your jaw very nicely. In all honesty, despite a dubious start, my taste buds are very happy right now.
I forgot to mention that it pours very cloudy (my bottle also came with some very scary looking chunks of sediment) and a nice, deep, rusted orange . I got about a finger of head which lingers for a little bit before it dissipated into a nice ring around the edge of the glass. There isn’t much lacing sticking to my glass, but that was to be expected given the subtle head the beer produced.
The Carpenter’s Mikan ale is very good. I would certainly like to give this beer another shot from a fresher pour. I can see that this has tons of potential with the citrus, wheat and, some fine craftsmanship. I will remember this beer, and I sure hope to try more by this brewery in the near future.
Well, as I was posting this, I took another look on the bottle only to find that this beer was bottled on 11/10/2014… yes, you read that right, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN!! Today is Novermber 15, 2016. Holy hell! Despite it all… it held up much better than it had any right to!!