When I make fun of macro beers, and it’s a particular pasttime of mine, one focus of mine is the inclusion of rice in the malt bill. For a standard recipe like a Pilsner, rice is there to cheapen the total cost and essentially water the beer down.
This is funny, since I like sake, the traditional Japanese ‘rice wine’ whose production is much closer to beer than wine. It’s definitely the perfect, almost required accompaniment for sushi, a favorite in my household.
Every so often, I come across a brewery that uses rice in a beer specifically to get the essence of sake. SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach did just that as an exclusive beer for the new Whole Foods in Delray Beach: The Great Wave (Golden Ale, 4.3% ABV). The beer was named for the classic Hokusai block print that graces the gorgeous cans I was too late to get when I picked the beer up from SaltWater.
It is a rice ale and was brewed with a sake yeast to solidify the flavor a bit more. The aroma has a very interesting quality to it, slightly spicy like Christmas was crossed with a Pilsner, but broadened somehow to take on some very neat grapefruit and sourdough notes.
It pours a beautiful deep gold, the flavor is wonderful and has a very strong sake quality that flows in and around a sweet biscuit and lemon-forward malt bill. There’s an amazing depth of flavor there and was a refreshing change from what I had expected from the beer.
Leave it to me to get shown up by rice in a beer. And now I need to order some sushi.
Drink Florida Craft,
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