Summer of Beer


It’s been far too long for me.I’d like to say I’m busy but it’s not really the case.  I believe I’m in the middle of my beer summer right now.

Last Beer Before Summer

But before that, I’ll catch those of you who read this up.  I made one last beer back at the end of April.  It was brewed just in time for Golden Week so I could let it ferment while I was away camping for the weekend.  I had high hopes; it was to be a hoppier version of my IPA/2IPA.  Sandpiper IPA 2.7 had plain amber malt extract syrup just as the previous versions.  This time I used hops I bought from the U.S. through nikobrew.com.  The hop bill was 50g of Bravo for 45 minutes. For finishing I alternated between Centennial and Willamette for the last 15 minutes.  The wort was about as bitter as I though possible.  I pitched my final Wyeast 1054 from a starter and things went well.  Then we went camping.

I was the first in the front door upon returning and went straight to opening all the windows.  I got to the bedroom and saw the closet light on.  Horror went through me–maybe just a fearful chill down my spine.  The halogen light left on all weekend had driven the temperature up way past what is good for an ale: up around 30°C.  Actually I’m lucky nothing caught on fire.

I let the fermentation period continue and hoped the hoppiness would cover any odd flavors.  Bottling proceeded without a hitch.  Forty bottles were set aside in the closet to condition.  With that, I went into the summer of beer events and festivals.

Let the Summer Beer Begin!

At the end of May I volunteered at the Kyoto Craft Beer Festival and had a great time even with the nasty sunburn I let myself get.  A few weekends later I was at a friends craft beer shop opening party (Craft Beer Base in Umeda–link to come) and then Craft Beer Live in Namba.  I took some bottles of the young beer to share with other home brewers.  A few were opened and the result was not good.  I was worried but not hopeful.  Sound odd?

Namba was great.  My daughter went along and enjoyed playing with other kids who came along with their home brewing parents.  We found a place under the closest bridge near Dotonbori and relaxed with the craft beers of Kansai and our own home-brewed wares.

Last Sunday I went to Minoh Beer‘s 15th Anniversary Beer Festival.  They showcased all their best beers and Ise Kadoya even came with a beer they brewed just for the occasion.  Unfortunately I enjoyed it too much but I met lots more home brewers who liked my Sandpiper IPA 2.7 this time.  The apparent carboard flavors had ceased and the beer has matured into something quite hoppy!  The Centennial hops lend citrus notes but are nearly overpowered by the strong Bravo bittering hops.  I sent a bottle to my parents just the other day along with my Trans-oceanic Ale and my Not-So Blonde Ale (dry-hopped with Liberty hop goodness).

Onto Bigger and other Beers!

So I’m taking a break for this weekend.  Sticking with a few cans of chu-hai and martinis.  Next weekend, I’m going to a nice all you can eat/drink beer garden on the rooftop of the Shin-Hankyu building in Umeda.  Should be great fun.  The beer is not craft but the friends I make is why I go.  We must always remember to have fun drinking beer and not take it too seriously.

The BeerFes Osaka 2012 is coming up in a few weeks.  That will be my highlight of my Japanese beer summer.  There will be more beers than I can try, and many I will try at least twice.

After that I will be heading to the U.S. where I will be drinking all the craft beers I can’t get over here.  I already have a tentative list.  Maybe I’ll publish it later.  Any suggestions?

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