Uchu Brewing (うちゅうブルーイング ) “Sun (#282)” IPA

Name: Sun (#282)
Brewer: UchuBrewing うちゅうブルーイング (Japan)
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.5%
Review Year: 2021

A tribute to the closest star to our homeworld, Sun is an American IPA brewed by one of Japan’s most exciting craft breweries, Uchu Brewing. This beer features the Strata hop variety among others.

Uchu Brewing is a space-themed craft brewery in Hokuto City, Yamanashi, and was founded by Masahiro Kusunose and Rumiko Suzuki in 2018. Head brewer Kasunose skipped high school to become a bassist in a hardcore punk band and, has, interestingly, only started drinking craft beer in 2016. Before brewing on his own, Kasunose spent two months in 2017 at Outsider Brewing in Kofu mentored by Satoshi Niwa. The other half of Uchu is Suzuki who traded in her Osaka city life for the quiet farm life in Kochi after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. She is currently in charge of the brewery’s marketing, creative direction, and events. The two crossed paths as Kasunose and Suzuki became involved in environmental activism in which they practice strongly with their brewery.

STYLE GUIDELINES

This beer is being evaluated as an American IPA (21A) in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.

TASTING NOTES

Semi-hazy pale gold like orange juice with a medium-sized white head. Clarity improved marginally as the beer settled. Moderately-low citrus aroma profile: orange citrus and pith with complementing tea and dankness. Medium-light-bodied; medium-high carbonation; quite smooth. Hop-forward flavor profile with malts not too far off. Orange citrus up front with supportive tea and stonefruit; medium-low bready malt presence; some umami factor. Moderate and “well-rounded” bitterness; faint anise and peppery impressions in the background that lingered into the aftertaste. Dry finish/ low sweetness; hints of resin together with the familiar citrus and tea lingered after.

THE VERDICT

“Balanced” and “well-rounded” are the two words that describe Uchu’s Sun IPA, a beer which we benchmarked as an American IPA. Sun has that classic hoppy citrus theme associated with an American IPA. Meanwhile, the bitterness and the dry finish were sufficient to remind its drinkers that the beer is still a “West Coast IPA.” These characteristics, we think, contributed collectively to making this beer very refreshing and palatable. The dank, umami, and tea-like qualities added another dimension to this beer beyond the usual citrusy IPA motif.

In our opinion, a slightly more intense aroma profile could make this beer more fascinating. Overall, Sun by Uchu Brewing is a very good American IPA that feels like it was brewed to be enjoyed on a summer day when the sun is in its most glorious state.

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