Name: Bridge Road Brewers Umami Shiitake Ale

Style: Golden Ale

Country: Australia

ABV: 6%

Beer description: In collaboration with 2013 Age Good Food Guide Chef of the Year Michael Ryan, Bridge Road Brewers made the Umami Shiitake Ale. The result was adding 10 kg of Shiitake mushrooms to “an otherwise basic golden ale.” Bridge Road Brewers have some great standard brews, and it’s always interesting to see what they do when they let loose a bit.

The beer pours fairly light for a golden ale; it almost looks like a lager in colour – straw yellow. Unlike a lager though, the head sticks on the beer pretty well and sticks around for some good times.

This beer is pretty fragrant, more fragrant than would be expected from the general look of the beer. As mentioned in the description from the brewer, this is a basic golden ale with some mushrooms thrown in, and that’s the best way to describe the smell of this beer. It’s a subdued malty smell with a some hops and spice behind it. It’s hard to describe exactly what hop aromas are present as the mushrooms start to come through at this point. The mushroom works and compliments the earthy aromas of the hops, bringing this all out more.

The taste is earthy, like a mushroom, with a long finish. Up the front, this beer is crisp and playful with a bit of citrus, and one could almost be fooled into once again thinking this is a lager. However, the change up comes with a bit of malt and body in the middle. Earlier than expected, the bitterness comes through, but in conjunction with the mushroom. There’s no clear mushroom or bitterness at this point. As mentioned, this beer is a long finisher, and eventually the bitterness wins out. However, the mushroom is there throughout, so perhaps it gets points for stamina… The mouth is left with a refreshed feeling of citrus, a bit of confusion (in a good way), and wanting more.

This was a very surprising beer. The mushroom is both prominent but subtle, and works very well. Hops can often have an earthy quality to them, while mushrooms can have the same quality but in a more dirty/gritty way. These two flavours work well together.

This beer would be suitable for drinkers who either have already explored more interesting tastes, or who are just starting to explore the weird and wonderful things that can be added to beer. It’s a good introduction, even for those who aren’t crazy about mushrooms.

Check out more golden ale reviews.

Check out other Bridge Road Brewery beers.