Beer Meeting and Wandering Dolphins

Japan is great when it comes to drinking. On Sunday I went to the monthly meeting of the local home brewing club. We set up in Suma Beach park just under some pine trees. The beach was packed but we weren’t there for wandering the sand, taking in some sun, or nampa, the Japanese word for hitting on or trying to pick up a date. We were there with home brew and craft brew to compare. It also turned out to be a kind of father-daughter day as all the members who showed up also had their little girls with them.

As it is summer and hot, meeting attendance was low so we concluded the official business of future meeting dates and competitions as quickly as we could and moved into the day’s beers.

We had Minoh double IPAs and Imperial Stouts. I brought a Vedett, a German weizen bock, and a pale ale from Kona in Hawaii. The home brews included an apricot weizen, an IPA, and a mystery brew from someone no one knew which ended up tasting like band aids and jam. I’m still a bit foggy when it comes to off favors like band aids so a special off flavored taste is something I need to participate in but that can wait until later.

Overall it was a good day. The daughters got to see the dolphins that swim near the beach at Suma (let out from the aquarium apparently). The dads—and a few moms— got to try a wide variety of beers. And it was all enjoyed under beautiful pine trees next to a famous local beach. We had some rain but it didn’t dampen our day in the least.

We won’t have another meeting for a few months but I’m looking forward to the next one once the weather yields my place possible for brewing.


Playing with your Beer

Does everyone remember being told to stop playing with their food…as kids? Now here are a few quick fun finds showing people playing with their beer. I’m not talking about beer pong or a movie drinking game. I’m talking about doing things to beer that are usually only talked of in passing. Here are 8 Bizarre Beers from Around the World from the foodie blog, Yummly Dish. Has anyone tried any of these?

Labels are another place that beer can be played with in a fun, creative, artistic manner. This a Men’s Health slide show illustrates some interesting labels focusing on manly beer labels that, “boast plenty of taste and testosterone.” I’m not sure if these are as manly as the magazine purports but they are interesting nonetheless.

Awesome Ramen: Ramen Adventures

What food goes great with craft beer? Well, lots of things. One of the first things that comes to my mind is ramen. Yesterday morning I was slowly waking up with the morning show on and a feature on ramen came on. The report focused on the following blog that I highly recommend for those who want to know the best places in Japan to enjoy ramen.

Ramen Adventures

Craft Beer Under the Dome and a New Beer Bar

Patience has paid off and I should learn from it. BeerFesOsaka2013 was a memorable experience that I hope will be topped only by future beer festivals at Kyocera Dome. Anticipation yielded to exhilaration as I helped my friend prepare for the day’s festivities. We served two Washington State craft brews: Silver City Brewery’s St. Florian IPA, an exceptional west coast IPA with prominent floral and citrus hoppiness and; Sound Brewery’s Poundage Porter showing off excellent chocolate and coffee flavors and aroma. By the third day, Sound’s Monk’s Indiscretion was already sold out.

The mood of the festival was good though it was noted that there weren’t as many people as the previous two days. The rain earlier in the day may account for this but possibly today being a work day contributed as well. Overall it was quite a laid-back day so when I wasn’t serving I was able to sample a great variety of the other ales, lagers, and hybrid styles on tap and in bottles.

Besides the beers Evergreen Imports was serving, a few beers stood out for me. Harvest Moon’s Grapefruit Ale was fresh and light and quite drinkable in the summer . This contrasted nicely with Minoh’s Ume Sour Ale, a similar fruit ale but quite sour. Both beers have their own refreshing approach to quenching a summer thirst.

Another group of beers I had the pleasure of sampling was the rauch beers of Tazawako, Fujizakura Kogen, and Daisen G. Each brewer puts in their own blend of smoked malts so each rauch has its own smokiness that amazed me. However, overall I still found Fujizakura my favorite. It’s smokiness is very forward but not too lingering, like an excellent piece of bacon that carries its smokiness down your throat leaving just enough to evoke desire for more.

There were many other beers I sampled and many I had to skip. I am looking forward to next year and hope I can participate as I did this year.

After the festival was done and everything was cleaned up we headed over to Dig Beer Bar, a new place just north of Utubo Koen in Osaka. The pre-open party was in full swing with over 15 craft beers from Japan and abroad on tap. The food is delicious and pairs beautifully with the beverages offered. Atmosphere and decor are quite relaxed with clean sleek metal, wood and concrete in the back but opens up into a tent-like covered area in the front lending a bright natural light diffusing through the canvas-like covering. Dig Beer Bar is owned by Keiji Nishio of eni-bru fame and I look forward to frequenting it in the future, tasting more beers and learning more about the bar and its origins.





Below are links to the different brewers and restaurants mentioned (many are in Japanese):


Silver City Brewery

Sound Brewery

Tazawako Beer

Fujizakura Kogen Beer

Daisen G Beer

Harvest Moon Brewery

Minoh Beer

Dig Beer Bar

In Great Anticipation….

It’s the middle of the BeerFesOsaka2013. I have the list of the beers and will be helping it on the last day. Until then I am sitting on my hands in desperate anticipation of the different brews I might be able to sample. With the heat wave that has had Japan in its grips this past week, very little beer (or any alcohol for that matter) has passed my lips. I hope to be updating this blog with some reviews or comments on the exceptional brews I will encounter on Monday. After that, I plan on getting some typical summer beers and experimenting with their efficacy in fighting off what the Japanese call, “natsu-bate,” or summer heat fatigue.

A Good (and soggy) Beer Garden Party

It started off in a muggy line waiting for the elevator. Seven of our party went up and got our tables on the roof. Settled in, we loaded up on pitchers of Kirin lager, stout and a curious blend of the too. We also piled plates high with crab to grill at our tables and a few vegetables for color. The first Kampai came and several more followed as more people arrived. The clouds grew darker and closer. I took out my umbrella and before long we were using it. Then the drizzle turned into a downpour so grabbing our most important items at the moment, our beer glasses, we headed for the awning.

We had been given the option to back out early before paying but figured it wouldn’t rain too much. And we’d just stick it out if the rain continued too long. We wanted our money’s worth. So we stuck it out and huddled together with a hundred other people, making a few more friends along the way.

Each time the rain would stop we’d return to our chairs, wipe them down and get back to eating and drinking. A great time was had by all and I believe I learned a bit more about persistence—at least when it comes to beer drinking.



Summer Time Beer

Yet another time where it’s been far too long. Well tomorrow is my summer beer garden party. It’s not craft beer; it’s going to be standard Kirin. But many good old friends will be caught up on each others lives, new friends will be made, etc. oh, it’s also all-you-can-eat—all-can-drink! Yaen is always a great place fun summer shenanigans.

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