Shonan IPA Equinox is 6% American IPA from Kumazawa Shuzo, based in Kanagawa, Japan. Kumazawa Shuzo have been churning out this series of beers that contain the same base recipe for the beer, but altering it with different hops, with Shonan Beer Session IPA French Saison, Shonan IPA HBC 342, and Shonan IPA Southern Cross all making appearances. Shonan IPA Equinox was first released in 2017, with an appearance at the Japan Brewers’ Cup, where Kumazawa Shuzo took sixth place for their Shonan IPA. Equinox hops were first released in 2014 to the brewing industry and is more commonly known as Ekuanot hops. At the time of writing, there are no plans to release Shonan IPA Equinox in bottled form.
Shonan IPA Equinox Aroma and Taste
Sitting down after a hard day’s snowboarding with a beer is a favourite of mine. I’ve liked most, if not all, of the Shonan IPA range, and was excited when I came across Shonan IPA Equinox. It came up a dark copper orange colour with a clean white frothy head on top that didn’t last long. Shonan IPA Equinox had a large earthy piney nose going on but the strangest thing about it was the fruity yuzu-like aroma coming off of it. There was no yuzu used in the brewing process, nor was there any yuzu near me during drinking but it worked well. There was a slight hint of caramel in the beer but the yuzu aroma had me drawn in.
The initial bitterness of the beer worked well with the yuzu-like taste which appeared, though the earthy pine flavour came through soon after. Even when chilled, Shonan IPA Equinox had a strong flavour that when warmed up was as balanced. The malts, as they should be, played a supporting role, just bringing some caramel sweetness to alleviate some of the strong hop flavour. It ended up with a slightly bitter aftertaste along with those peculiar yuzu making an appearance towards the end.
Shonan IPA Equinox The Bottom Line
I really liked Shonan IPA Equinox – the flavours all worked together to make a really crisp drinkable beer. Now if only I could find those yuzu.