Ginga Kogen (銀河高原, Galaxy Highlands) is a Japanese brand that I’d put somewhere between craft and mass-market. One of their central products is their wheat beer.

Galaxy Highland

It pours such a light gold color that it caught me off guard. Despite that, it stays very hazy, even if you allow the carbonation to wear off. It has a small, creamy head that sticks along for a long time. It could be used as a prime example to what lacing is. The creaminess of the head makes it sticky, apparently.

At first sniff it reminded me of something, something that I was once very familiar with but I haven’t encountered for a while. After a bit more of pondering (and tasting), I figured out what that was: bison grass, the main herb in the Polish vodka Zubrowka. Later I found notes that reminded me of smoke, like from a campfire, and maybe even wasabi, the characteristic-tasting Japanese radish.

The added yeast and the wheat that makes it a wheat beer must be the culprits behind the interesting, though very light taste. It took focusing to notice anything in it besides the slight bitterness and the carbonation. I was a bit surprised that there was also a lurking alcohol aftertaste, that I didn’t expect from a “quality beer”. But that’s just one element, as the aftertaste that stays for the longest is dominated by the wheat – in the beginning it’s all about the carbonation.

All in all it’s a light wheat beer with a thin taste that can be really refreshing.