Beer Review: Samurai Rice Ale from Great Divide Beer Sessions

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We picked up this beer from Great Divide Brewing Company last weekend because we were intrigued by the idea of using rice as one of the primary grains during brewing. Ok, well first we picked it up because we thought the label was pretty and then we bought it because we were curious about the rice! Can you blame us?

Beer Details – Samurai Rice Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado. (5.1% ABV) The website doesn’t specifically say so, but we think this is a seasonal summer ale. We bought it as a single 12-ounce bottle in a make-your-own six pack display, and we didn’t realize until later that the store was probably trying to get rid of its remaining inventory. Still, keep an eye out for it and you might get lucky!

Appearance – Hazy golden with a nice white foamy head that was about an inch thick at first before reducing to a thin coating. Decent lacing on the glass as we drank. The cloudiness is typical of an unfiltered ale like this.

Aroma – Citrusy but sweet, rather like candied orange or lemon peels. We could also smell a hint of toasted grain.

Taste – It was a little hard to get a read on this beer at first. The flavors burst quickly on the tongue and then were gone by the time we’d swallowed. Nothing lingered!

We took little sips to slow it down and gradually were able to perceive some toasted banana flavors followed by a spicy bitterness on the finish. The beer had a gentle fizz and creaminess on the tongue, while still finishing clean.

The rice was evident in a hint of sweet green tea in the malts, though we wished this were even more apparent. If you’re going to go to the trouble of brewing with rice, we’d like know it from more than just the advertising on the label.

All in all, we thought this beer was crisp and refreshing, if rather one-dimensional. It’s light enough to have a few of them over the course of an afternoon, and flavorful enough that you won’t lose interest.

Food Pairings – If you get your hands on a few bottles of this beer, try it with seafood or a light salad. The sweet flavors in the beer would compliment without overwhelming.

Have you had this beer? What do you think?