What do you drink during those precious hours after you finish your matcha but it’s not yet happy hour? One answer: Matcha beer. Tea specialist Stefen Ramirez recently started serving up the green brew—which took him years to perfect—at his tea house, 29B, located in NYC’s East Village.
“I enjoy beer and I also enjoy matcha, normally separately,” Ramirez told me when I went down to the tea house for a taste. (Hey, its a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.) “Because of that, I have certain criteria [for both] that have to be met.” Ramirez actually discovered the unlikely combo in Japan, but in his opinion, it was never quite balanced. “It was either made by a tea company or a beer company, so half of it was always just so-so.” On a mission to do it better, he started experimenting.
“When I tried with lagers and pilsners, they would fight with the matcha. I wanted a layered contrast.”
Ramirez played around with many different types of beer and most of them just didn’t taste great with matcha. “When I tried with lagers and pilsners, they would fight with the matcha,” he says. “It would either be a really weird combination or would mess up the taste of the beer. I didn’t want that. I wanted a layered contrast.” He also wanted to use the same amount of matcha as you would get in a typical cup of tea.
In the end, Ramirez found that Koshihikari Echigo Beer, a rice beer, was the perfect one to use. “It’s naturally sweeter and doesn’t have a strong finish,” he says. It also has a low alcohol percentage (5% ABV), which is great since this is one drink you’re encouraged to sip before sundown. (After your workout, perhaps?) “We see people ordering it all day—it’s always a good time for a matcha beer,” Rameriz says.
To make the infusion, Rameriz pours some of the beer right into the matcha bowl and whisks them together. Then, he pours more in the glass to finish. Watch the video below to see what all the, um, buzz is about—and to learn how to do it yourself!
29B Teahouse, 29 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009, 646-864-0093, tea-dealers.com