Drinking for a worthy cause

Green Tea IPA aids Japan earthquake recovery

(Steve Greenlee/Globe Staff)
By Steve Greenlee
Globe Staff / August 6, 2011

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Usually when people talk about beer and recovery, they’re referring to a hangover. Not this time. Stone Brewing Co. has concocted a new ale that is intended to help raise money for earthquake and tsunami recovery in Japan.

It happens to be one of the best - and perhaps oddest - new beers I’ve had in a while.

Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA, produced in collaboration with Ishii Brewing Co. in Guam and Baird Brewing Co. in Japan - is an imperial India Pale Ale brewed, indeed, with green tea.

Bright orange with a frothy, 2-inch head, the beer exudes hops. A pungent aroma of citrus fruit leaps from the bottle as soon as it’s uncapped, and continues apace once the beer is poured into a glass. The nose seems to grow even more tropical as it breathes, and that characteristic translates to the taste - which is hoppy (70 IBUs, or International Bitterness Units), bitter, and spicy with citrus overtones and herbal undertones.

The tea recedes; I’ve had more than a little green tea, and never would have guessed this beer was made with any. But this is decidedly not a typical double IPA, so the tea has evidently affected this taste.

Here’s perhaps the best thing about this beer: All proceeds from the sales of Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA - which, by the way, is 9.2 alcohol by volume - are going to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Wait, there’s more. Stone has simultaneously released a second unusual beer that involves cross-brewery collabation: Stone Cherry Chocolate Stout, produced with Troegs Brewing Co. and based on a recipe by Jason Fields and Kevin Sheppard, who won Stone’s home-brewing contest.

Chocolate liqueur, vanilla beans, and 9,000 pounds of dark cherries went into the brew, and their presence is evident from the first whiff. Black and smoky, the beer (7.3 percent ABV) produces a cappuccino-style head, big bubbles and all. A complex aroma of roasted coffee beans, molasses, and cherries rises from the glass. The taste is full of cherries, java, and burnt dark chocolate. There’s a lot going on with this thick, substantial beer.

Sweet on the front end and bitter on the back, Stone Cherry Chocolate Stout provides interesting juxtapositions and immense satisfaction.

These beers are supposed to show up in Massachusetts stores within the next week or so, and will no doubt sell out quickly. Each beer will be sold as 12-ounce singles for about $3 a bottle.

Founders Devil Dancer I finally managed to get my hands on an IPA that I’ve been wanting to try for some time. Founders Devil Dancer, which is billed as a “triple IPA,’’ is the kind of beer that can destroy your palate with one sip. And that’s the point.

There’s really no such thing as a triple IPA, but since Founders Brewing Co. makes an excellent India Pale Ale (Centennial) and an outstanding double IPA (Double Trouble), both of which are less hoppy and less bitter than Devil Dancer, we’ll have to defer to the Michigan-based brewer and go along with the triple IPA designation.

First, the stats: Devil Dancer is a serious beer, containing 12 percent alcohol by volume and measuring 112 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). Since the human tongue is capable of tasting only about 80 IBUs, this one is well off the charts. One more stat: The beer is expensive. I paid $25 for a four-pack.

Devil Dancer is easily one of the most powerful, most bitter beers I’ve ever tasted. Rust colored with very little head, the beer gives off an intense aroma of mango and apricot. The ale is resiny, almost oily, and shockingly bitter. Sipping it - and you have to sip it - is like biting into a grapefruit. With so much bitterness and alcohol, you’re only going to want one beer when you have a Devil Dancer. Good thing, too, because you wouldn’t be able to taste anything that followed.

Did I enjoy it? Why, yes I did, quite a bit. But I’m not sure my mouth - or my wallet - would want me to have Devil Dancer more than once or twice a year.

Steve Greenlee can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SteveGreenlee.