The three beers Oregon's Rogue Ales has made in partnership with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto are less well known than they should be. Maybe that's because the labels on bottles of Morimoto Black Obi Soba, Morimoto Imperial Pilsner and Morimoto Soba Ale feature elegant Japanese calligraphy instead of Rogue's trademark portraits of people who look like real-life brewery customers. The Morimoto Soba Ale, brewed from buckwheat and barley malts, has a gentle nose with a sweet, elusive aroma of grapes. The taste is light and, above all, clean, and the ale walks off in the politest possible manner, completely leaving the mouth after a moment of dryness on the palate and a hint of buckwheat flavor. Maybe this isn't a food beer but a quiet conversation beer.
-- Charles Perry
Price: About $5.50 per 22-ounce bottle
Style: A distinctive, grapey ale with a strikingly clean palate
Where you find it: Beverages and More, various locations, www.bevmo.com; Ramirez Liquor in Los Angeles, (323) 261-2915, www.ramirezliquor.com; Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, (818) 247-5544, www.redcarpetwine.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, www.wallywine.com.