Last summer I discovered Japanese craft beers when I tried a Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale while visiting Las Vegas. Eager to find more Hitachino Nest beer, I went to City Beer Store in San Francisco to pick some up. While at City Beer, I discovered another Japanese craft brewery, Baird Brewing Company. I picked up a few bottles include Rising Sun Pale Ale.
Baird Brewing started in 2000 by Bryan and Sayuri Baird and is located at the base of My. Fuji in Numazo, Japan. The brewer’s website describes this beer as follows:
This quenching brew is crafted in the American west-coast style. It sports a beautiful soft citrus hop aroma which gives way to a round, honeyed-fruit flavor. The finish is crisp and refreshing.
Where I Found It. I found this beer at City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA.
Serving Type. I poured the contents of a 355 ml (12 oz.) bottle into a pint glass.
Appearance. The head of Rising Sun Pale Ale has the typical egg-shell white color and lasts an average amount of time. The color is a nice orange caramel color but the clarity is semi-cloudy. It was even more cloudy when I forgot to stop pouring and emptied the bottle conditioning yeast into the beer.
Smell. The hop bouquet has a nice citrus, orange, and floral smell, which is noticeable but not intense. The aroma has background hints of sweet malt and grain. There is a slight touch of vanilla and something that I can only describe as Japanese grape-flavored hard candy.
Taste. As the caption on the side of the bottle claims, this beer is well balanced. It has malty sweetness and is not too heavy on the hops and bitterness. The taste is pleasant and has a honey sweetness with a touch of hop spice. Again, I pick up on another type of sweetness in the taste that reminds me of white grape juice.
Mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is a little too watery for my preferences. The initial hop aftertaste on the tongue is pleasant and fades quickly.
Drinkability. Despite the watery nature of Rising Sun Pale Ale it is highly drinkable. It is smooth, easy to drink, and has a nice hop nose while not being huge on the hop bitterness.
Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.
- Appearance (20%): 3.0
- Smell (20%): 4.0
- Taste (40%): 3.5
- Mouthfeel (10%): 2.5
- Drinkability (10%): 4.0
Caption on the Bottle
This hoppy, brisk and refreshing Pale Ale is indescribably complex, but holds tenaciously to Japan’s prime aesthetic value — supreme balance. Behold, the Zen Brewmaster’s Pale Ale, a perfect beer for drinking now, later, tomorrow, the next day, every day. “In balance there is harmony.” Kampai!
There is also information about the brewery listed on the side of the bottle:
Baird Beer is brewed at the foot of Mount Fuji by Japan’s pioneering craft brewery. Lovingly and authentically crafted, it is unfiltered, re-fermented in the bottle, and naturally carbonated. Please drink contemplatively, Beer Drinker-san.
- Style: Pale Ale
- Brewery: Baird Brewing Company
- Alcohol by volume: 5%
- Beer Advocate rating: 3.84 (as of March 21, 2009)
Links and Other Reviews
- Numazu Traveler – Baird Beer’s Fishmarket Taproom
- Chuwy Reviews – Baird Beer Taproom, Nakameguro
- Metropolis.co.jp – Big Taste, Small Breweries
- Beer Advocate Reviews
- RateBeer.com Reviews