Florida Beers

So I’m going home, my hometown, in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida next week. I’ve tried Cigar City Beers and Three Daughter Beers. What other beers do you all recommend? To those who have visited Japan, or are in Japan, what do you think? I may bring a bottle or two back with me.

Along with this, I believe posting will happen more despite my less frequent drinking.


So sad….but wait…there is possibly more

I was going to write about my weekend of awesome home brews shared between awesome friends under a glorious sun on a never ending beach.  But that didn’t happen.  It couldn’t happen.  Nature stepped in and I found myself laid low by a nasty stomach bug.  Woe was me! 

From reports, the homebrewers meeting was a success and, though I missed everyone, I look forward to the next possible meeting in the fall.  In the meantime, what I have in store for the next few weeks should help my spirits. 

Soon, depending on the weather, I am going into vacation mode and packing the family off to Florida.  While there I’ll be enjoying the usual sun and sea, but I am also looking forward to stocking up a bit on hard to find things here and maybe a treat or two there for new equipment:  Starsan, a carboy carrier, and maybe a growler for fun.

The prices are also something to look forward to.  Here in Japan, craft beer prices can be a few hundred yen per bottle. Depending on the exchange rate, that comes out to $5 or more at times for a good craft brew.  Now, in the U.S., that same $5 might get me a few more bottles.  I’m feeling like a kid in a candy store even though I don’t drink much.  I have some particular breweries in mind.  Cigar City Brewing is top on the list but there are a few newer (since last I traveled the area) spots I’m hoping to make.  So, if anyone reading this has been to the Tampa Bay Area, what breweries and particular beers do you recommend?  What are your top Florida craft brews?  I’d love to hear from you.

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.

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.

Little Writeup for a Weekend of Beer

Right. So I’m actually writing about the time I said I would. But enough about that. Time to bathe in the beer tub of my weekend.

Saturday night I attended the monthly beer dinner at Asahiya in northern Osaka. This lovely little shop carries craft and big beer brews from all over the world. The owner is a wonderful man who opens his shop and home with tremendous warmth. Each month seems to feature different beers along with food prepared by his family that compliment the beers.

I started off with the Minoh Yuzu White. The citrus aroma was well defined and the flavor was quite refreshing. I like this beer a lot but enjoy. It much more in the heat of the summer. I followed this up with Shiga Kogen’s African Pale Ale. I’m still unsure what that actually means—anyone know?— but it is one of my favorites and I always have some when I get a chance.

As always I enjoyed Asahiya’s event very much. I ate more than I should have and will next time as well.

Today. Today was the first meeting of homebrewers for this year. So many beers were submitted and we still lack a formal way of critiquing each other’s brews so there was some confusion. Yet from this we have some ideas on how to improve or comments to the beers and thus helping each other improve in our beer endeavors.

Autumn is here and so is my beer season or 秋の空、ブルーマスターの心?

Off to a new pub tonight. It’s here in Takarazuka and they serve a lot of Japanese craft beer: The Cricketers Beer Club.

From what a friend said, they have a nice variety of Japanese craftbrew. I’m actually hoping to get some Brew Dog Punk IPA. The owner also makes traditional English sausages so I imagine a plate of bangers and mash might go well with something they have on tap or bottled.

Along with this, the weather is cooling and my brewing is warming up. I was able to get my brew pot up and ready; five and a half kilograms of malt were milled (nearly burning out the motor of a small drill); and organized everything to make it nice and smooth. All done in thirty minutes. Now if the weather behaves, Saturday night I will be posting more on the day’s brew.

今晩に、新しいパブに行く。宝塚にて、たくさん日本の地ビールを売っている: The Cricketers Beer Club.

友達の情報では、日本の地ビールのヴァラエティがいい。でも、僕は、Brew Dog Punk IPA を飲みたいだ。パブのマスター伝統的なイギリスソーセージを作るので、生ビールか瓶ビールと一緒にbangers and mash(ソーセージとマシューポテト)を食べるかな。



Whoops! Where did the time go?

I really am disappointed in myself. I was going to write about the wonderful time spent at the World Craft Beer Tasting a few weekends back but have had to deal with some personal issues. Now that those things have begun to settle I can refocus on beer.

The WCBT was absolutely beautiful. I just wish I had written down more of have beers I had. I focused mostly on Washington state brews like a lovely dunkel and a smooth oatmeal imperial stout that went down easy not suggesting that it was a warm 9% brew.

After the Tasting I wound my way with friends to a beergarden where I traded quality for quantity. The quality was there of course with friends and family but the beer was standard Kirin in as much as I could drink. I took it easy; I have responsibilities.

The next step is the coming brew season. I have been wrangling up hops and grain. The temperature should be on its way down to a brewer’s comfort zone in the next week or so then I will get to my first planned brew of the year, a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone. I still haven’t decided what to use as a substitute for Perle hops but I can’t wait. I hope I can follow up the pale ale with a stout or smoked porter. I’m almost jumping with anticipation.

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