Rogue – Morimoto Soba Ale
The best meal I’ve ever eaten was at the Taj Hotel in New Delhi. It was sushi.
My Mom and I spent a month in India back in 2009, fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers to travel to the sub-continent. The hotel was lush in grandeur, with chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and ornate carpets covering the marble floors. The Taj was also home to a handful of excellent restaurants, one of them owned by famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. The restaurant, cutely and aptly named Wasabi, was fairly small and on the bottom floor of the hotel, right behind one of the large, winding staircases. We were advised to go for lunch, as the mid-day sushi platter special was not to be missed. It was beyond incredible, and only cost us about $30. Amid the modern, funky decor from my perch at the small sushi bar, I experienced what I assume is the closest I will ever get to achieving Nirvana. Some days I dream of that wooden block laden with the freshest and most beatiful fish (how it was so fresh in the North of India? I thank technology and modern coolant methods!).
Fast forward 4 years and I am back in the DC area on one of my many trips to the glorious store World Market. (If you are unfamiliar with the store and have one in your area, I say get thee there immediately. They boast an impressive beer and wine selection, and I always end up leaving the store with at least a few bottles of something. Their international beer selection is also impressive.) As I perused the many shelves of beers, a large brown bottle flecked with white Kanji called to me from among the rows of bombers. Upon closer inspection, I saw the name that brought me so much joy years before. We meet again, Morimoto-san.
The good brewers at Rogue partnered with the famed Iron Chef to forge a beer featuring traditionally Japanese ingredients as part of its Signature Series, imparting upon us drinkers the Morimoto Soba Ale. This brew is made with soba – as many are familiar with from the slightly chewy grey noodles served hot or cold in Japanese cuisine – which lends a slight nuttiness to the beer. It is an ale and a fairly light one, but with enough flavor to stand on its own. Next time, I will be sure to drink it alongside my favorite sake. This beer would also be a good candidate for a Korean “somek” preparation, emboldened by adding in a shot of filtered sake or soju. It pairs perfectly with Japanese cuisine such as its cold soba brethren (my favorite Japanese dish) or a decadent spread of sashimi and sushi. I, ironically, paired it with Trader Joe’s Butter Chicken. It still worked out just fine.