A Day at the Beach


It’s sad but a good friend is leaving. He has been in Japan for nearly a decade and he has, along with his family, decided it is time to move on, take a new path in life. He was the friend who got me interested in home brewing. We made a few good brews together, and enjoyed drinking quite a few together.

Last Sunday the local home brewers got together at a popular beach in Kobe with a 20 liter keg of American Pale ale we had made a month before. We set up in the shade of trees in a park nearby. Besides the keg, there were a few other home brews and craft brews on hand.

The APA was a malty brew with just the right amount of hops. Even in the summer heat it was good.  It wasn’t crisp and refreshing but it was something I would, could, come back to anytime of the year.  The beer was only in the keg for a week so it is still quite green. I hope I can get another taste soon for comparison.

There was a hefeweizen on hand, as well, which was nice for the season but had a bit of a banana flavor that seemed wrong; it seemed just a little too much.

In the end it it was a good day even if we had to say goodbye. The beach was a nice place to do it, though.

Hopefully, in a year or so, I’ll be heading over to England with fellow brewers and/or family to see this good friend.  There will definitely be a local beer tour somewhere in there.

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Finally! A Spent Grain Bread You Can Eat!


Wow! すごい!Unbelievable! My reaction to a well baked loaf of bread may seem excessive, but I have a reason. This is the first time that anything I’ve made with spent grain from a home brew has really turned out…edible. Oh, it looks good too.

Actually, I’ve made cookies with spent grain before. That occasion I used an oatmeal cookie recipe as a base replacing most of the oats with spent grain from a pale ale I had made earlier in the day. Those cookies turned out soggy and left the impression that they weren’t fully baked. I believe it was from using wet spent grain.

The spent grain I used this time into my bread was simply thrown in as an adjunct to the standard bread recipe for my bread machine. The spent grain was from a beer I helped in brewing at a friend’s place a few weeks ago. I put a bit in the freezer for later use. The defrosted grain (I only added a couple tablespoons) seemed just moist enough and the results were wonderful.

I had to toss the remainder of the grain (just a little bit though it was) in the rubbish so next time I freeze spent grain, I’ll do it in smaller single use packets. That should give me a bit more use out of it.

So, have you ever baked with spent grain? What have you baked? What are your successes and failures?

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Beer Garden Saturday Night/Sunday Morning


My last post saw me talking of recent health benefits and consequences. I talked a bit about quantity over quality. I violated that last night in a huge way. Was it merely a case of moderation in all things including moderation? Perhaps.

For many foreigners Asahi and Kirin are good, and I do prefer them over a lot of American lite beers. However none of it is craft. They are beers designed to go with food, Japanese food in particular. So I indulged in a lot of both.

The beer garden where the party we had was pretty typical for Japan. It was on the roof of a very tall building near JR Osaka. For a nice price of ¥3600 you get all-you-can-eat, and all-you-can-drink. The tables have small hibachis for personal bbqs and there is a nice selection of Chinese food. We got full and then moved on.

I got my craft beer fix with a Brooklyn Lager but that was it for the night. We wandered about watching some soccer here and there then I slept on my friend’s couch.

Drinking is a social thing so sometimes it’s just not that important what you drink as long as it’s with good friends, new and old. Of course if you can make it classy, definitely go classy.

Long Time No See 久しぶり!


It’s been a long while and plenty of that time has been spent with beer of many different kinds.  With my quest for better health in full swing, though, I have not had as much to drink as I’d like. I don’t mean that I want to get shit-faced all the time or simply more; I just want to try more of the great variety of craft beer and home brew available in Kansai now.

Since late December I’ve been using different means to slim down and get into shape. I got a fitbit so every step I take I monitor and analyze. I watch what I eat and drink along with exercising every day. The result is a nearly eight kilogram loss and actual visible muscle growth. My waist has shrunk as well.

As I was watching my intake of calories I found the quantity of beer I drank fell off dramatically –ability as well.  Quantity was never a priority, but quality over quantity really has become the most important thing in the six plus months since starting this diet/lifestyle change. I may not drink every day but I do savor each craft or home brew I drink.

I haven’t been singularly devoted to changing my diet and exercise habits though. Anyone who has seen my Untappd (kansaiclikker) account knows that there have been more than a few times when I have logged a bunch of brews within one night.  A recent trip to a friend’s place can attest to this.  I tried at least eight beers (all small amounts) from craft and Belgian brewers.  My favorite was definitely the  Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.  On top of that I tried a lemon ale and a ginger beer from an up and coming home brewer.  There was also a great off flavor tasting to know what problems can arise and how to remedy them in the home brewing process.

Since my last post there have been several festivals where I got to try everything from a little 3.5% ale to a whopping 15.5%.  I’ve also had to say goodbye to some good friends who have gone onto different paths in life.  It’s sad but we got to share some beautiful beer together.  In the coming months I will be seeking out more brews and bidding farewell to more friends.

So for now good brews to you and keep it classy.  Quality trumps quantity, usually!  And see you hopefully on Sunday when I throw that rule (is it a rule or just a rough guideline?) out.

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