Hakuba Black is a 5% Cascadian Dark Ale, or Black IPA, from Hakuba Brewing Company, based in Hakuba village, Nagano. It was the second bottle release from them, after the Hakuba Pale Ale. Like that one, the beer is brewed using groundwater sourced from the largest all-year round glacier in Japan though it is classified as a happoshu. It’s brewed with additional sugar and also, most interestingly enough, black tea, or 紅茶 (koucha), in Japanese. At the time of writing, Hakuba Black can be found in bottles and on tap at the bar in Hakuba.
Hakuba Black Aroma and Taste
Tea? In a beer? The last time I had one was the Baird Beer collaboration with Stone and Ishii but that was green tea, and Hakuba Black has black tea involved. First of all, it poured out a muddy deep brown colour with a large amount of ever-so-slightly off-white head that quickly collapsed in on itself. The aroma was a peculiar malty smell with a distinct coffee aroma to it. If it has tea in it and smells like coffee, perhaps I drink too much coffee? There was subtle edge of chocolate to it as well. Confusingly enough, there was also some hints of citrus going on here as well.
I’ve not had many Cascadian Dark Ale, or Black IPAs, but with Hakuba Black, I think they have hit on something that is very drinkable. It’s a definite cross between a stout and a Black IPA – the coffee and chocolate in the body pair up nicely against a slight citrus and bitter bite. The hints of dried fruits on the palate and soft water made it very light and easy drinking. The main problem I had with it was in the aftertaste – it faded too quickly for me to enjoy.
Hakuba Black The Bottom Line
I really liked Hakuba Black and its texture – looking forward to trying more of it.
Where to Buy Hakuba Black
Hakuba Black can be bought online at the following places: