To a Tea

Happy hour and teatime collide

[Editor's note: This item has sold out since the article was originally published.]

Stone Brewing has brought new meaning to teatime.

Typically, green tea and craft brews are suited to entirely different occasions. But for its newest release, the inventive Southern California brewery has brought the fragrant, calming pleasures of a hot cup to a cold bottle.

To create the Japanese Green Tea IPA ($3.50 for 12 ounces), the proceeds of which are earmarked for the Japanese Red Cross Society for earthquake and tsunami relief, Stone collaborated with Guam's Ishii Brewing and Japan's Baird Brewing. The IPA detours from the overly citric characteristics commonplace in hoppy American ales, a result of the international partnership.

The brewers relied on offbeat hops such as New Zealand's orange-marmalade-scented Pacifica, Japan's lemony Sorachi Ace and France's recently released Aramis, which has an herbal, lemon-hinted bouquet. But the Japanese Green Tea IPA truly stands apart thanks to the addition of whole-leaf sencha tea from Japan. Cold-steeped in the brew, the tea imparts a delicate, grassy flavor that melds well with the IPA's herbal bitterness.

And though the limited release weighs in at a robust 9.2 percent alcohol, it drinks as easily as a spot of tea.