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

Enjoy!

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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.

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.

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.

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