Black in Japan
Tokyo meets Brussels



Over the years breweries have tended to move out of cities, their locations making way for shopping centres and housing developments. A relatively new brewery, Brasserie de la Senne, actually situated in Brussels has, therefore, got to be a rarity. If the beers match up to this fact then we should be in for a treat!

On December 22, 2010, 7 years after starting a micro brewery together in Saint-Pieters-Leeuw, Yvan De Baets and Bernard Leboucq were able to fulfill their dream of producing beer commercially in Brussels at the Brasserie de la Senne.

Five regular beers are now produced with an extra two seasonal beers. But the fun doesn’t stop there for the two eager brewers or their appreciative followers, collaboration beers are made together with other pioneering microbrewers.

One such beer is Black in Japan, a black IPA brewed together with Luc Lafontaine, head brewer at the Brasserie Dieu du Ciel brewpub in Montreal. Luc Lafontaine has been responsible for some great beers so I was interested to be given this bottle.

Will it be worth it?

That depends, as always, on how you like your beer. It pours black with a good beige head which stays for a while. The overwhelming aroma is roasted malt and hops but stay with it and licorice , coffee and fruitiness will start to show. Tasting follows much the same pattern; if you’re not an ipa or stout drinker the intensity of the two initial flavours will probably knock you back; give it a chance and things will come in to balance.

A slight sweetness comes and then fades as the fruitiness gains a distinct grapefruit element and a pine edge develops with the bitter herbs. Finishes dry and bitter.

The artistic label, as with all de la Senne beers is also worth some attention. It nicely rounds off the whole package.

An unusual beer that is well worth persevering with. Buy it if you can. (It’s listed now as sold out so good luck! Hint: We got ours at the Malting Pot near Place Flagey and they might have a couple more …)