Baird Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale is a 6% unfiltered pale ale made with wasabi and green tea. It’s part of Baird Beer’s year-round beer lineup.
Wabi-Sabi is a funny sounding word for a deep existential aesthetic. It refers to the respect of imperfections and the transient nature of life- “Wabi” means rustic simplicity, and “Sabi” means the beauty that comes with age. Maybe you saw a recent news article about Japanese people repairing things with gold leaf to highlight the cracks in them. That’s wabi-sabi. And, as you would expect from any news article about something weird in Japan, you would know that it’s taking the nation by storm and everyone is doing it. I recently patched up a hole in the crotch of my jeans with a 24-carat solid gold cast of my arse. I look fabulous.
As a storied philosopher (I spent almost FIVE minutes on the Wikipedia page for Wabi-Sabi, I’ll have you know), I think that Baird’s Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale is more on the Wabi side than the Sabi side. But whyyy? Read my review, dummy.
Baird Wabi-Sabi Pale Ale Aroma and Taste
Here we go. Baird Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale pours out as you would expect a Baird to (I think it’s cool that you can tell a Baird beer from its pour alone)- cloudy, of course, with a bright white fluffy head and following up with a sneaky bit of sediment. The nose, a Baird nose, is very subtle. It’s mainly malty, but there’s a sliver of the green tea and a slight spiciness from the wasabi. It disappeared as it warmed up, though, so as usual I accidentally snorted the beer trying to make out the nose. Baird beers are so coy!
If you’ve had Baird’s Pale Ale, you will have an inkling of what to expect upon tasting Wabi-Sabi Pale Ale. It’s malty and fruity and nice. This also has some potentially conflicting evil ingredients in it, however. Baird have a stellar history of using green tea in their beers. Every beer with wasabi in it thus far has been foul.
The spiciness of the wasabi definitely comes through upon tasting, although fortunately the taste of it is barely noticeable. Only on the aftertaste do you get a suggestion of that green devil radish. While subtle, it does linger around for a while. Also, due to the unfiltered nature of the beer, you’re getting some actual wasabi in there.
The green tea mainly came through on the nose, but its bitter woodiness emerges once you swill the beer around in your mouth a bit. Overall, the whole thing holds together. It’s kinda like a spicy-ish IPA (Yes, I said IPA), and it also has the tannin flavour that you get when you forget about the teabag you left in your cup.
Baird Wabi-Sabi Pale Ale: The Bottom Line
I’ll refer you to the bottle blurb – “Quiet simplicity and subdued refinement”. This beer is not for everyone. It’s a weird one. But there’s a lot going on, quietly, under the surface. And it does deserve to be contemplated. Also, it’s a Baird pale ale, and you can’t go wrong with that.
Where to Buy Baird Wabi Sabi Pale Ale
Baird Wabi Sabi Pale Ale can be bought online at the following places: