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Belt’s Beer Garden: Saisons Greetings

Nōka, from Short Fuse, is a Japanese-inspired dry saison brewed with rice, ginger, lemongrass and lemon zest

Short Fuse Brewing opened their doors in Schiller Park, Illinois back in 2017. Earlier this year the Chicagoland brewery was awarded the title of “Brewery & Brewer of the Year” at the Great American Beer Fest!

At my local beer haven I found a can of their Nōka, a one-off beer that sounded fantastic.

Nōka is a Japanese-inspired dry saison that was brewed using rice, fresh ginger, lemongrass, and lemon zest. It’s a very light beer, clocking in at just 4% ABV, with a four-pack of 16-ounce cans costing just $12.

The saison poured a clear, golden straw color with a massive two fingers of fluffy, off-white head building up. The dense foam refused to leave in a timely manner, sitting atop the beer for more than a few minutes.

The aroma was very light and crisp. It was chock full of sweet, floral, and zesty notes of ginger and lemongrass. In fact, it was basically all ginger and lemongrass with very little else making it through...which, as a fan of both of those ingredients, I was stoked about.

Once the foam had finally subsided enough to actually get to the beer, my first sip began with a fizzle of carbonation that continued underneath for a long time and some very subtle and lighter flavors.

The ginger and lemongrass were both there but they were much more muted in taste than they were in smell. The lemongrass did appear as the stronger of the two, creating a slightly grassy resin that coated my taste buds.

That spice from the ginger would pop up occasionally here and there but, for the most part, it was the floral, lemongrass notes that took the lead. The lemon zest, much like the ginger, could be picked up on some sips, with a nice citrus burst peeking through towards the back half.

On the back end, the beer ended shockingly clean. There was a hint of dryness (not much at all though) and some lingering lemongrass and starchy rice but, otherwise, it was an insanely clean finish.

Towards the end of the pint I could feel that ginger spice building in my chest along with some of the acidic lemon zest. If not for that, this would have been a super light and crushable brew but, between that and the building carbonation, the second half of the pint went a tad bit slower than the first half (or maybe I just drank it too fast because it was sooo good?).

If you’re a fan of ginger and lemongrass, this is a fantastic beer. It’s light, it’s tasty, and it’s totally worth it. By far my favorite beer from Short Fuse.

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