Went to Liquor Shop Ashiya recently, primarily to pick up some Christmas beers for an upcoming year-end party. But the shop had a good selection of Japanese micros, too. And so I bought several to take home. Last night I settled in early and opened a bottle of Shiga Kogen House IPA, one of the six styles made by Nagano-based Tamamura-Honten brewery.
I've had it before, both on tap and bottled. Some time ago, Lefty and I drank it side by side with Green Flash West Coast IPA, and we both agreed that the Shiga Kogen was a better-balanced and tastier beer.
What a beauty it is, with a dusky orange/gold color, pleasant carbonation, and some lacing on the glass. The aroma is quite hoppy and citrusy. It is a full-bodied beer, made with 100% Maris Otter malt and what seems to be a blend of hops, though Cascade predominates in the flavor. Strong taste of grapefruit, peaches, and maybe a hint of apricot. Goes down smoothly and has a long bitter finish. It leaves a slight alcohol burn in the throat, and I could feel it inside for some time afterwards. This 8.2% double IPA packs a punch.
You can find a page HERE (in Japanese) about the beers made by Tamamura-Honten Co.