In many Belgian and Old World breweries, the holidays are often greeted by brewers releasing souped-up versions of their most prized beers. With that tradition in mind, we set out to create an even more intense version of one of our most renowned beers for our newest Brewmaster’s Reserve release. What emerged is Lord Sorachi, an imperial take on our beloved Sorachi Ace that will leave you breathless.
Lord Sorachi is an elevation of the prized Sorachi Ace hop. Its wonderful aromas and flavors of lemongrass, verbena, lemon peel, and dill have been multiplied many times to create an incredible wall of flavor and sharp but merciful bitterness. Like the samurai swords of old, which were forged over days of hammering and folding steel, Lord Sorachi has been precisely balanced to retain supreme drinkability despite its incredible strength.
We caught up with Brewmaster Garrett Oliver in the midst of prepping a Beer School dinner for a few of his thoughts on Lord Sorachi. Readers, take note: you might want to brush up on your samurai lore before getting involved. (You’ll also learn some obscure facts about your trusty author; thanks, Garrett.)
There were surely many candidates in our lineup to turn into an imperial version of themselves. What made Sorachi Ace stand out?
Even though many other breweries have now discovered this hop, to this day no other beer tastes like Brooklyn Sorachi Ace. It is very dry and sharp, yet very complex and drinkable. This unique blend of qualities gives the beer the ability to become different versions of itself, and yet still retain its essential character. Sorachi Ace was born ready to assume the mantle of a Daimyo and take on imperial form.
This beer is improbably well-balanced. How long did it take for you to figure out the recipe for Lord Sorachi?
Not very long at all. From the first days of this beer, it was contemplated that it might some day ascend to this level. Balance is the key to all good things in life, and Sorachi Ace knows this. While conceiving his poetry, he holds the chrysanthemum in one hand and the sword in the other; a true lord must know the ways of both power and beauty.
What is your favorite part of the beer?
The thrilling hop attack at the outset and the way it sets the stage for the rest of the palate. This beer is a joyride. No matter how many times you ride a good roller coaster, that first drop always gets you. That’s what Lord Sorachi does with your tongue.
What foods do you think it pairs best with? What foods may be overwhelmed?
Lord Sorachi will be particularly great with rich and spicy foods. It can handle the burn of good Thai dishes, cut through the ghee in chicken tikka masala, and stand up to the biggest loaded-up burger. Delicate fish dishes will not fare as well. But how often do you really eat those, anyway? (Author’s note: not that often.)
You mentioned the “duality of Sorachi Ace and Lord Sorachi” while relating the legend of Sorachi Ace. What is the duality of which you speak?
This duality is the central mystery of life. We are all many people, however, we are also one. One can be “Tim, the Boy Scout leader,” at one moment, and a “very different Tim,” late at night at the club with friends, and yet “another Tim,” onstage. There are many Tims, and yet there is but One Tim. (Author’s note: these are all true. Pictures available at market price.) Sorachi Ace has found the power to bring his duality into actual substance. Lord Sorachi and Sorachi Ace are beers with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. To be enlightened, you must embrace this eternal mystery.
If this beer was the soundtrack to a movie scene, which scene would that be?
Master Kambei’s theme from “Seven Samurai”. After he rescues the child from a brigand by posing as a priest, the villagers all realize that he is the one who can save them, and the music rises. The theme contrasts the boldness of heroism with priestly humility. This conveys the duality and true meaning of the fortuitous appearance of Lord Sorachi. Those who come to scoff shall remain to pray.
You’ll start seeing Lord Sorachi on draft near you soon. Seize your opportunities to drink it while you can; as with all of our Brewmaster’s Reserve releases, this is a very limited release, meant to be enjoyed fresh at your favorite spots. Read more of the legend of Lord Sorachi here, and prepare to bend the knee before this new Lord.
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