The third definition of the word pastiche as given by Wiktionary is “an incongruous mixture; a hodgepodge.” Hodgepodge has negative connotations for most speakers of English, as it conjurers up images of motion-picture monstrosities such as Sharktopus (2010) and culinary crimes al la kitchen-sink succotash. But wait…the word can also refer to the sublime syllabub in both its liquid and solid manifestations. In short, there are a lot of great hodgepodges out there, and it is clear to us that Yamaso Hop is one of them.
This is a “beer” made from Nagano grapes, a Yamabudo-Cabernet Sauvignon hybrid; malted grain; and hops. Beer is in quotation marks because the flavor profile is more nearly that of wine than of beer. The nose is winey, a unique experience for us: we have never drunk a beer that smelt like a wine. On the palate the Cabernet Sauvignon-Yamabudo notes predominate. A slight graininess is perceptible but no hoppy notes. There seems to be a call-and-response phenomenon going on here between the sourness that announces its presence immediately and the sweetness that reveals itself a couple of nanoseconds later. The abv is 9%, and the finish is of medium (+) length. This brew must be tried!
* Minamishinshu Beer is located in Komagatake, Nagano Prefecture and is related to the Mars Distillery.