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Belt’s Beer Garden: Light ‘Em Up

Twilight Ale from Japan’s KAWABA Beer is insanely easy to drink!

KAWABA Beer comes from Gunma, Japan - a landlocked mountainous region on Japan’s Honshu Island. Kawaba, a village of about 3400 people, lies in the north central part of the region, about 100 miles north of Tokyo. The fresh spring water they get from the base of Mt. Hotaka helps create beers with a uniquely soft and smooth taste.

Currently, you can find their beers in 13 states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Utah, and Washington - with Oregon becoming the 14th state to carry their beer very shortly.

Today I have their Twilight Ale, a new style of beer called the Japanese Pale Ale (JPA). It’s an unfiltered Pale Ale with a nice, lighter 5.2% ABV. The single 11.16 ounce bottle costs me about $5.

This JPA poured an orangey copper color with just about a finger of white head building up. The small bubbles slowly fizzled away, lacing the glass somewhat as it dissipated.

The aroma featured a nice balance of hops and malt. The former added notes of pine, citrus, and grass while the later gave off a nice bready aroma with some sweeter caramel notes as well.

It began on the sweeter side of things, with the grist hitting first. There was a nice pop of caramel and toffee upfront that slowly faded down and allowed the hops to gain control of the sip. As that caramel sweetness descends, there is a spike of hops that brings a dash of bitterness and a whole bunch of grapefruit.

It’s a slightly resinous grapefruit rind flavor that is accompanied by some lemon and orange as well. The fruits offer up some additional juicy sweetness and, between the malt and citrus, any bitterness is quickly washed away.

Just a dash of pine and some earthy grassy notes peek out on the backend for some complexity. Otherwise, the last half of the sip is all fruit flavors.

Twilight Ale finished INSANELY CLEAN. Like…it all just vanishes. No hoppy resin. No bitterness. No sticky malt feeling. No dryness. Just gone. It was possibly one of the cleanest endings to a beer I’ve ever had.

KAWABA has made an insanely crushable and delicious Pale Ale. I only wish it was available in a larger size…this small 11.16 ounce bottle it came in is not nearly enough! Very well made and I hope to find more from them!

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