Craft beer: What kind of Yokai is an umami beer? Ask the Wild Beer Co
MILLENNIALS have a problem with Friends. The quintessentially 90s and early noughties comedy has struck a bum note with today's 20-somethings, with many of them huffing at the old-fashioned 20th century misogyny and homophobia.
Maybe they should follow Ross's advice and practice some unagi. That was certainly the word association which sprung to my mind when I happened upon a can of Yokai from Wild Beer Co which is an example of an umami beer.
So here’s the thing. While about 90 per cent of beers can be defined by malty and hoppy characteristics, bitter or sweet, umami is another flavour characteristic which can best be defined as 'savouriness'.
There is a rather convoluted way in which a beer can achieve umami (and it's not by pointing your middle and forefinger at your temple and turning them, a la Ross) but to be honest, that seems to involve a degree in chemistry. So the best thing to do is tell you what the beer tastes like.
Well, firstly, it doesn't taste like beer. Yokai is actually a dialled-down version of Wild Beer Co's Yadokai, their sake-inspired 13 per cent beer. It has the consistency of water, but it’s not watery in the flavour. It has a very thin and flat mouthfeel and is crystal clear in the glass.
The dominant flavours early on are of salt and seaweed, and it has the feel of some sort of restorative tonic. Then there is a hint of citrusy sweetness to it, due to the bright yuzu citrus.
They've billed this as a session beer, but when you take a first gulp it's very hard to see how you could drink much more than a can, even if it is 4.5 per cent. But it settles down a bit and becomes something of a voyage of discovery.
There's little to no hop presence and a complete absence of malt. It's a challenging beer, but it you're in a curious mood, it's well worth trying out.
If you're not, though, then Nebula is a dank and hazy 5 per cent IPA which doesn't promise too much in the way bitterness, but has a fair bit of light, fresh fruity flavours with a subtle tropical finish.