Metalman Brewing Company have been nailing down their reputation in the Irish beer scene for some time now. The Waterford based brewery has managed to keep churning out innovative small-batch special brews, while keeping their flagship beer, Metalman Pale Ale, in delicious and consistent form. Not an easy thing to do by any means.
The latest of their brewhouse experiments is something you don’t see every day: a 6% ABV amber lager brewed with the seriously pungent Sorachi Ace hop – which was originally developed and grown in Japan. So, let’s all say konnichiwa to Metalman Sahara.
Sahara (a name which, last time I checked, has nowt to do with either Japan or Waterford) pours a bright amber/orange colour – it’s on the lighter side of the Vienna Lager spectrum.
On the nose, there’s some fairly restrained herby stuff, a touch of lemon rind, some lemongrass, a bit of orange and some light caramel. Not as pungent as I expected…Sorachi Ace is one of those hops that usually kicks you in the cojones with a full-on assault of lemongrass…
Then comes the taste. Hello. Jesus, it’s full-force Sorachi Ace time. There’s a huge pithy lemon and herby lemongrass kick to it, following this there’s some juicy orange, a little bit of bitter grapefruit, some woody notes, and a decent slab of sweet caramel. The perfumey nature of these hops is wild – the lemongrass character gets right up into your nose via the back of your throat…it’s like eating some seriously fragrant Thai dish. Except it’s a lager. From bloody Waterford. The finish is unbelievably dry and crisp. Lingering lemony and herb notes fill your mouth (and your whole bleedin’ head) for ages.
Now, this certainly won’t be for everyone: Sorachi Ace usually splits audiences down the middle – its flavour profile is pretty intense, there’s no denying that. But in all honesty, this lager (you wouldn’t guess it was a lager, that’s for sure) has more hop clout than most of the Irish pale ales in production combined. It’s great to see Irish brewers experimenting and Metalman continuing their run of good form.
Metalman don’t bottle their beers, so this’ll only be found on tap in a few select locations – check their social media pages to find a stockist near you. Get it while it lasts, people!