Home Beer Review Shonan IPA by Kumazawa Shuzo

Shonan IPA by Kumazawa Shuzo

by Rob
1 comment

Shonan IPA is a 6% American style IPA from Kumazawa Shuzo, based in Chigasaki. Unlike the rest of the Shonan Beer range of experimental IPAs, Shonan IPA is part of their annual release of seasonal craft beers with this one coming out in winter time. However, unlike the experimental range of IPAs, this one is a mix of hops that don’t seem to be listed or advertised anywhere, which is strange considering the amount of interest there is in hop usage and amount. It is available in bottles or on tap form while stocks last.

Shonan IPA
Don't ask what hops are used in this as they seem to change.
Babel Bayside Kitchen Beer 3
Shonan IPA - I don't know which one as the bar staff didn't know and the menu didn't say. Not a great start.

Shonan IPA Aroma and Taste

The bottled version above was the second time I had tried Shonan IPA, with the first one being at Babel Bayside Kitchen in Yokohama just before Christmas. When I enquired about the beer to the staff, no one seemed to know what hops were used in it, which was worrying as I didn’t know if it was part of the Shonan Beer range of experimental IPAs or just a “regular” batch. Turns out it was part of the winter seasonal release of the beer.

Both of the beers poured out a hazy golden colour with a varying amount of head though Babel Bayside Kitchen are known for putting a large amount of head on top of their beers. The aroma was incredible piney and earthy with a large citrus punch to it – talk about a difficulty in narrowing down the hops used in this beer. While the punch was particular strong, it didn’t last long at all.

The body to Shonan IPA was most interesting with the same piney and earth flavour coming through the strongest but this time, some caramel tones also developed too. The citrus twang was present but far more subdued than in the aroma and helped produce a medium to strong bitterness in the aftertaste that carried the citrus flavour too.


Shonan IPA One Line Review

Shonan IPA is a decent IPA worth trying if you come across it. Much better than the Shonan IPA HBC 342.

Where to Buy Shonan IPA

Unfortunately, we’ve not come across any places that sell Shonan IPA online. I got my bottle from Sagamiya in Kamakura.

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1 comment

Christopher Phillips January 9, 2016 - 10:52 am

For me, quite a few of the IPAs over here are possibly tasting more like strong pale ales, rather than outright American ipas. By ‘Americna IPAs’, I’m thinking US west coast style, hoppy, low caramel beers. I assume and am pretty much convinced that this is what the brewers are aiming for as that is often what the drinker wants, these days.
Just as a session IPA doesn’t have the malt base and smoothness of a pale ale, i think some of these Japanese IPAs (exception of y market, shiga and one or two others) dont have that bitter bite and sharper body of an IPA. They are often too soft and smooth. They still taste nice, usually but i dont think they quite hit the style on the head. I’m still not totally convinced the brewers all understand what it is they are trying to make but id also argue that styles arent always that important, as long as the beer itself tastes GOOD. However, when a beer is sold as a certain ‘style’, then part of its appeal is in how it matches that style and IPAs have been made and indeed import IPAs (the best the world has to offer, often) have been brought over here for long enough now that they really should be better, on average.
As with y market, shiga kogen and quite a few other breweries that are kicking ass, I’d put a significant factor in that due to foreign influence (there are some exceptions where we have some truly talented and gifted brewers here who ‘feel’ the beer correctly) and experience and therein awareness of what really good beer actually is, how it should taste and how to make it. Sadly, i feel at times that many otherwise good brewers haven’t had such an opportunity to educate themselves and are still playing catch up and copying beers they haven’t truly understood.
I like the shonan series of experimental IPAs but some are clearly more experimental than others and i wish they would reduce the c factor in their malt base as the caramel is too deep and heavy for the hops and therein the IPA factor to really shine in these special ipas. some of the hop combos or choices they came out with were really delicious, others left me scratching my head as to what they were thinking.
My favourite of their special IPA series has always been the falconers flight hop combo batch. That was delicious but again more like a string pale ale but tasted so good.


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