Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA is a 7% Experimental White IPA (whatever that means!) from Yo-Ho Brewing Company, based in Nagano, Japan. If you haven’t heard about this beer, then you’ve either been out having fun or ignored the beer news, but it’s safe to say, Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA is peculiar in that Yo-Ho Brewing Company used bonito fish flakes in the brewing process to impart umami, or the fifth taste that is sometimes known as the savoury taste that goes with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. For those fans of Japanese craft beer, then it’s not the first time that fish has been used in a beer, with Outsider Brewing using salmon flakes in their Outsider Sockeye Salmon Pale Ale. It’s also brewed with seven different kinds of hops with Magnum, Columbus, and HBC682 being used for bittering, and Cascade, Glacier, Loral, and Cashmere being used for aroma.
Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA Aroma and Taste
Curiosity got the better of me with this beer, as it was supposed to be drunk and reviewed by Joe, but by the time he would have got around to drinking it, it could have stopped being made and BeerTengoku would be its own brewery by then. So off to Yona Yona Beer Works in Akasaka-mitsuke it was then.
And from the get go Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA was disappointing. I guess I was expecting something fishy from the aroma of this beer as if you’ve ever eaten okonomiyaki or yakisoba, you know that bonito flakes do have a distinctive roasted smell on them. It did have a distinctly yeasty bread like-aroma to it with some hints of citrus and grapefruits hops but it smelt more like an American pale ale than an American IPA.Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA had a very clear light golden straw body with a long lingering frothy white head on top too.
The body though was something of a peculiar mashup between a pale ale with a savoury bite to it. The hop bitterness was far more subdued than I would have liked for an American IPA, with it being faint and soft on the palate. There was some lemon and grapefruit flavours to the body with some hints of orange too; however, if you’re looking for something sweet, then Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA isn’t going to be the beer for you. The roasted flavour from the bonito came through, producing what felt like a sticky texture on the tongue and leaving it there for the aftertaste, making the hop bitterness last longer than expected.
Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA The Bottom Line
Marmite has umami – that savoury flavour – and I think that bests represents Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA. Ultimately, it’s nothing special and kind of a gimmick. It would be interesting to see how this beer would turn out without the push behind the umami flavour.
Where to Buy Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA
Yo-Ho SORRY Umami IPA can be bought on tap at Yona Yona Beer Works across Tokyo. It can also be bought online at the following places: