Zakkokou Koubou (麦雑穀工房) “Irodori Saison Ver.10” Orange and Yuzu Saison

Name: Irodori Saison Ver.10
Brewers: Zakkoku Koubou (麦雑穀工房)
Style: Fruit Beer (Base Style: Saison)
ABV: 5.5%
Review Year: 2021

The Iridori Saison is the tenth beer in the “Brewing From the Field” series of Zakkoku Koubou (麦雑穀工房), a microbrewery on a farm in Ogawa, Saitama surrounded by the Sotochichibu Mountains. This Saison was brewed with locally sourced whole oranges and yuzu as well as grains cultivated on the farm.

Before being known as a brewpub located near the Ogawa station, Zakkoku Koubou was originally regarded as a farm that cultivated grains and millets. The brewpub was established to address the surplus of grains after harvesting by using these to make beer. Today, the farm also cultivates hops, vegetables, and fruits on top of their grains and millets.

STYLE GUIDELINES

This beer is being evaluated as a Fruit Beer (29A) with the Saison (25B) as the base style 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

Cloudy straw with a foamy white head. Moderate wheat and herbal/medicinal aromas were initially noted with impressions of orange zest, mint, and lanzones being more evident as the beer settled. Medium-full body, moderately strong carbonation, and a soft mouthfeel. The flavor opened up with a fairly strong duality of zesty lemon peel and grainy with a touch of clove and an indistinct herbal-like flavor; no tartness. Bitterness was perceived as moderate, while the finish was notably dry (no residual sweetness). Lingering impressions of bitterness (akin to biting a seed of lanzones), resin, and zesty lemon brought this beer to a close.

 

THE VERDICT

First impressions of the Iridori Saison Ver. 10: uniquely refreshing, appropriately dry with loads of citrus zest, grain, and an herbal undertone. As a Saison, Iridori has that distinct dryness, bitterness, and refreshing quality essential to the style. The bitterness, as well as the pronounced citrus zest, may have been emphasized more by the orange and yuzu additions. The mentioned fruits, however, did not contribute any tartness or acidity to the beer, which is quite astonishing.

The hallmark Saison spiciness seemed to have been replaced by the clove and herbal accents, the former being a typical feature in a Weissbier. These deviations, however, may have been due to Zakkoku Koubou sourcing only local ingredients and cultivating its own grain (and perhaps its own yeast strain). Overall, Iridori Saison is not a traditional Saison brewed with fruits, but it is a very good showcase of how local ingredients could add something unexpected yet pleasant to a beer.

Related Reviews:
Zakkoku Koubou
Beers From Japan

 

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