Wagamama is one of the UK’s best-known Japanese restaurant chains. Having served diners since 1992, the Wagamama brand has continually evolved across all food offerings. The same can be said for the drink selection, with Wagamama fully embracing the craft beer boom.
Curious to know more, I recently tried the Wagamama exclusive natsu beer. Meaning ‘summer’ in Japanese, natsu has a tropical flavour that makes it stand out against the savoury dishes that the restaurant offers.
Natsu is a pale ale brewed in collaboration with Meantime Brewery. Wagamama executive chef, Steve Mangleshot, worked with head brewer Ciaran Giblin over a period of six months to find the right flavours. They tested different Asian ingredients, making over 15 beers in their pursuit to create the perfect drink. Eventually, they settled on a specific combination and created Natsu.
Natsu has a refreshing, light profile, making it easy to drink. The most prominent flavour is passion fruit. It gathers on the tongue quickly alongside sour notes. There are also floral flavours that reminded me of Etsu gin. It’s the kind of beer you can enjoy in the warmer months. But it works for winter as well because of the different meals it can be paired with.
Wagamama recommend pairing Natsu with pad Thai salad, tama squid or their pink guava sorbet. I paired it with a bowl of kimchi and prawn ramen. The sweet and slightly sour notes complimented the spice and made for a good palate cleanser.
Next time you’re in Wagamama and want to try something different than Asahi, I’d recommend trying Natsu. It’ll add an extra level of enjoyment to your meal.