While at the Bavarian Lodge for the rare Mad Hatter flight I stayed for dinner and needed another brew. I found on the list of tap beers an interesting lager by 3 Floyds called Samurai Gazeebo. Since I’m a sucker for limited edition/one-off beers I had to give it a try. I was also attracted to it because they used a hop I had never sampled before: Sorachi Ace. I have not heard much about it and have only seen the name on a Brooklyn Brewery beer a couple months ago.
When the waiter brought me the beer it had a pleasant hazy orange glow with light straw highlights. The head looked smooth and creamy like any good German lager. With great anticipation I took my first whiff. Glorious! One word that popped into my mind was, “bright!” It had classic lager characteristics of bready yeast, light pale malts, and floral hops, yet had a little more life to it. Let me try to unpack that. Most lagers have a floral, herbal hops aroma and flavor. What I got from the Sorachi Ace was just that with another dimension added to it. That pop was a citrus tang or a bright tropical fruitiness. However, the fruits were not of grapefruit, orange, lemon, or pineapple. Instead, I recalled interesting fruits such as papaya, mango, kiwi, tamarind, peach, and guava that I had tried while on missions trips to Honduras and El Salvador. The malts provided a grassy hay-like aroma, which paired together to give it an overall smell of PB&J. If you have ever had GLBC Conway Irish Ale you’ll find the aroma is similar.
The taste was just as interesting and pleasant. I literally thought I was drinking a PB&J which I happen to love. My thought was, “I bet this is what Short’s Brewing Co. was trying to do with their PB&J Ale.” The mouthfeel was jammy and very smooth as the fruity hop flavors blended with the light and somewhat nutty malt notes.
I would say that this lager has some life to it. It is refreshing, finishes smooth and crisp, and is highly sessionable. I remember having a sweet malt/floral hop hiccup that was unique and enjoyable. If you see this on tap anywhere…order it without hesitation.