Cold Weather Beers (and Spirits)


What are your favorite beers, and spirits to drink on a cold, wet day in February? Do you like spicy IPAs? Boozy Belgians? A Baltic Porter, perhaps? Or is hot, spiced wine or rum your thing?

Whatever it is, drink responsibly in the cold winter. And take a deep breath between mouthfuls to appreciate the beverage experience—Mindfulness.

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Night out in Kobe


It was a night of craft beer and other spirits. The spirit was giving. More specifically, while I had some phenomenal craft brew, I joined Party Kobe Water 4 Life. By donating ¥1000, I got a stamp card good for a shot at nine bars mostly in the Sannomiya area of Kobe. I started off at Midnight with Rogue’ Hazelutely Choctabulous and Baird’s Mikan Ale along with a few other samples.

Along with a good friend, we proceeded to seven more bars and had our shots. It was great walk around, trading stories, and seeing other friends I have missed for a long time–being only a minute or two between each establishment. Loved most of the shots except one which we dubbed ‘the wet rabbit’ for its bouquet. That is not important in the big picture as it was all for a good cause, helping to bring clean water to poor communities in Africa.

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.

Beer Zen Instagram


BTW, I’m happy to be helping out with the Beer Zen Instagram account. Lots of fun!

Enjoy!

Aside

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.

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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