Sunday, April 20, 2008

Otter San

Otter Creek continues the World Tour -- to be honest, I hope they never stop, because this has been one fun ride. I thought it was a gimmick at first, but there have been some damned good beers in the series (unfortunately, what I thought was the best name -- Otterbahn, a weizenbock -- seemed to have packaging problems and was sour).

The latest is Otter San, a "Japanese-style beer brewed with sake yeast." And yes, it's brewed with rice ("of course," as the label says) and koji, the weird little fungus they use in sake.

There are Hallertauer hops, but they used a light hand: this is about layers of sweet, with just a leavening of bitterness that keeps it from being sticky. You drink this beer -- I had it with spicy tuna sushi, cliche maybe, but I like sushi -- and you'd swear there were flowers in it somewhere from the aromas' and flavors' light edges; they're sweet and a bit exotic. Very good job making this beer so interesting: there are twisting curls and veins of different sweetness running through this, it's almost like a napoleon of layers of grain character: first the malt, then the flowery edge, then the doughier rice sweetness, then a nutty-edged pastry note... Definitely deserving of some thought.

I like it more as it warms and as I taste more different flavors. Don't drink this too fast; let it develop, and you'll develop a liking for it.

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