Epic Saturday and Awesome (Really) Monday


Saturday was a beautiful day here in the Kansai. It was  hot one to be sure with a breeze only showing up fashionably late in the afternoon. In the kick-ass event space of Grow Space Salt Valley Ashiharabashi (in Japanese) Beer Zen held an epic keg party just about going through eight kegs of premium craft beer from the U.S. west coast.  It was great fun working the kegs and talking to so many people who make the craft beer scene in Kansai such a warm and inviting crowd.

We then adjourned to another craft beer bar, TNT (just Facebook site for now), where the size is more intimate  and the brew selection is even better.  Discussing life with friends there I made it home before long and spent Sunday recovering.

Monday, was supposed to be a day of car pooling and cleaning.  Nope. I met a friend out at Suma beach in western KOBE and we relaxed under his pavilion tent drinking a bit and swimming. The nearby Copenhagen Hot Dog shop was lunch; I always step in where the dogs are always awesome and the owner is friendly.

Now onto a week of festivals and driving. Looking forward to next Monday though.  May the force be with us.

Addendum to: Beer Zen Second Anniversary Issue Launch Party: Prequal?


Found the tap list for the party tonight:

Caldera Repeater 2 Doouble IPA
-Prairie Somewhere (almost gone)
-Lucky Bucket IPA
On Stand By
-American Powerplay Double IPA
-Schooner Exact Bitter Beer Face
Double IPA

If anyone reads this in the next few hours and is in Osaka, Get down to Craft Cafe Imazato 今里クラフトカフェ right away!

Beer Zen Second Anniversary Issue Launch Party: Prequal?


I’m sitting in the Cricketers , the best English pubs in Takarazuka, saying goodbye to a friend, the young English bartender.  Hopefully he’ll be back in a few months.  While I’m here, there is a nice new beer from Kyoto Brewing Company: the Kinpatsu no Futago, or, Blond Twins.  It’s an interesting blond ale with a sweet malt finish leap-frogged by slightly citrusy hops.

But I’m not here just to see my friend and drink a beer from Kyoto’s up-and-coming craft brewery.  I’m writing about tomorrow’s launch party for Beer Zen‘s Summer issue.  I should be writing about that.  The party looks like it will be great fun.  I’ve been to many of the previous parties especially since I started writing beer related recipes for a year or so.  It will also be the second anniversary of the magazine’s publication. The recipe I have in this issue is a beer vinegrette dressing.  Please, check it out.  Besides there being some IPAs on tap, I don’t know specifics on what will be available. I just know I’m really looking forward to it.  That being said, I will follow this up Sunday.

After all….


Along with reduced weigh and overall good health, my tolerance for alcohol has plummeted.  I don’t drink much more which has contributed to lower weigh and so forth.  Yet here I am.  I still love craft beer and home brewing. I indulge in each when I can though not as much as I once did.

Finally after a long dry spell I was able to enjoy one of the big craft beer festivals in Kansai.  Craft Beer Live in なんば is usually a great place to taste the variety of craft beer in the Kansai region of Japan.

 
This year was one of the best since I’ve been attending with one of the newest breweries, a soon-to-be rising star in the Japanese craft beer realm, Kyoto Brewing Company participating for the first time.

KBC just started brewing this year and is already producing stellar potables.  Though not 100% into the Himitsu beer, I loved the Snow Monkey and could have drunk it all day were it not for Minoh and Marca.

After all the craft beer up under the tents of the plaza below Namba Hatch it would be hard to say the day could be better, but down below the foot bridge spanning the Dontonbori River (sort of creek/moat) I set up with good friends and family, both home brewers and not, our own spot of shade and relaxed with each other’s company, beer, and food.  The combination of these events made for a great day, professional brews and many hobby beers as well.  I may never go professional in brewing beer but I hope some of my friends do.  They have so much to contribute to the world of craft beer.

Long Slow Summer


It’s been a slow few weeks here. I haven’t had much chance to get out to some of my favorite craft beer places in Osaka or Kobe. I haven’t even been able to get much at the local stores. The local Aeon is seems to be slowly getting rid of their craft beer and import section. A few places nearby surprise on occasion though with some Brew Dog and Speckled Hen. Even Japanese craft beers are hard to come by in my neck of the woods.

There was a bright spot though recently. I was in Perth, Australia on business and had a local Feral Brewing Company Hop Hop IPA. They describe it as an American IPA and I believe they are right. It wasn’t as hoppy as some of the big West-coast IPAs of the past few years and I kind of like that. Sometimes those IPAs can be a bit off balance but the Hop Hog seemed just right. It went down well with my plate of fish and chips all the same.

Before my brief trip ended I went looking for more to bring back. I couldn’t get the Hop Hog but I did find Feral’s Belgian White. I’m looking forward to drinking them with some fellow Craft beer lovers soon once everyone I know gets back from vacation. I may have said this before—if not, then I’m saying it here—drinking with friends is so much better than drinking alone. It makes the beer taste so much better.

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.

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