Last year, the brewers from the town of Ise toured Oregon on a three-day hop-finding mission—Japanese hops are super-expensive, apparently—and on the fourth day, they brewed.
Teaming up with Portland's Culmination Brewing, Ise Kadoya pitched some yeast harvested from pine trees at Ise's Grand Shinto Shrine garden to make a lovely sour farmhouse wit called Amataseru, using yuzu citrus. Now Culmination has made another beer with that same monky yeast, which only Culmination and Ise Kadoya are allowed to use.
Oregon Kara Sakura—"From Oregon, With Cherry Blossoms," an homage to a popular Japanese TV show from the '80s called From Oregon, With Love—is a special Japanese export release for Valentine's Day, the day in Japan when women give gifts to men. A guy should be so lucky. The delicately floral bottle houses a dark-pink beer of equal delicacy, a pillowy cherry wit made with rose hips. It's softly sweet and only a little tart, with elegantly subtle spice from the yeast.
Most of the beer is going to Japan, but you can pick up a limited number of bottles at the brewery Jan. 11. Do so. Recommended.