Last week we took a look at one of the premier beer bars here in Bangkok. This week we are going to carry on with our reviews only this time I won’t be talking about a beer bar, rather I’ll be looking at one of the beers we carry. Because we have a large selection of beer available it can be a little hard to pick what beer to review. So, I did what most people would do and opened the fridge and picked the first beer I saw. In this case, it was the only beer I saw, so that made the decision easier!
For the first review, we will be looking at: Baird’s Teikoku IPA.
Baird is a small craft brewer based in Namuzu/Shizuoka Japan, just south of Tokyo. Started as a husband-wife partnership in 2000 the company has grown immensely and now produces some of the best beers in Japan. The company has only recently made their debut here in Thailand, much to the excitement of many a Japanese expat, with four of their most popular beers.
The Teikoku IPA is billed as a cross between an English and American India Pale Ale and comes in a 360ml bottle with a 6% abv. The label is what drew me to this beer, it’s just so different from other beers out there. With a crazy watercolor scheme of a sword and what, to me, looks like a samurai crouched down. According to my friend, Teikoku is the Japanese word for Empire, which is pretty cool considering the “Empire” history of the IPA.
I was really looking forward to trying this, not only because I love a good IPA, but I am always looking for an excuse to drink on a Tuesday (when I reviewed this).
This beer poured a brown almost caramel color with a fine tan colored head. It was slightly cloudy, this would likely be because Baird adds yeast during the bottling process to send their beer through a secondary fermentation while it is in the bottle.
The head remained throughout the whole glass, leaving nice lacing on the glass all the way through.
At first sniff this beer gives off a number of pleasant aromas including grapefruit like hops and caramel malt. This is not normally a smell you would associate with IPAs, but after letting it sit for a few minutes I
could smell some pine in there as well, which is something one would expect with a higher than average amount of hops – which IPAs are known for.
At first taste I definitely noticed the malt – it’s strong and slightly sweet, kind of closer to an English ale. I presumed this is the English part of the IPA showing through. After swishing it around in my mouth for a second or two, the hops hit with a moderate pine and grapefruit taste.
What this served to do was cut the sweetness, leading to a hoppier taste that kept on going and going. In fact, it actually got more bitter for a few seconds after I swallowed it. In my experience, this was similar to the flavor profile of many American IPAs which tend to be more on the astringent side. That being said it wasn’t as astringent as many others which may not bode well for some IPA enthusiasts.
I would put this at a medium bodied ale. Swishing it around in my mouth I could feel the carbonation and alcohol on my tongue along with the bitter taste buds triggering. While there was carbonation, the beer is still quite smooth and definitely reminiscent of most other IPAs and even some American pale ales.
Upon swallowing I could feel a bit of dry mouth, which only made me want to drink more!
Overall I would say this was a good beer, it had the bitterness one would expect from most IPAs, though it wasn’t as strong as many of the American IPAs you can get here. I believe the use of stronger malt results in a beer that is more rounded than many similar IPAs.
I quite liked this beer and definitely recommend it for any drinker who is not only keen on IPAs but also pale ales and anything with more than your average bitterness. If you are not used to bitter beers or ales, this would not be the best first beer for you as it is simply too big of a jump from the lagers most people drink here.
Wish of the week
The next beer to review
We are going to try to make the beer review a regular on the blogs, so please do let us know what you would like us to review! If we have it we’ll review it.