Yet Another Long Stretch


So the story of my bottom line—in my wallet and my forty-year-old waist—has lead me to delay the latest post to this oh so prolific blog on Japanese craft beer.  I would like to say drinking less has made me feel healthier and happier.  But that would be a rather stretched to the limits truth. I have many good days of health and cutting down on high calorie drinks like full bodied beer has contributed to that. And drinking good, really good craft beer left frequently has me appreciating it even more when I do get time to sit and ponder the ways the aromas, flavored and textures interact and delight or disgust. 

I have been busy with other endeavors still related to craft beer. The wonderful Beer Zen magazine focusing on many craft beers in the Kansai region of Japan and other aspects of the craft beer scene has been where I’ve been doing some of my writing. It’s not much on my part, just a recipe each issue for the past few years. I enjoy the chance to explore where my creativity may develop and take me. I’m currently working on an article on craft beer importing into Japan. I hope it will be ready and published by the January 2017 issue. 

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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: the Aftermath


I wanted a rest before writing this about last night’s launch party.  I had built up a huge lump of expectation and was not let down.  I stayed only briefly at Craft Cafe Imazato, enjoying every moment of my first time there.  The dynamic duo owners, Matt and Toshie did a fantastic job hosting; I’ve never seen people so busy and I hope they got some rest today.

The beer line up, as I wrote yesterday, was mainly tasty American IPAs, so a hoppy evening was had by many.  I pointed up with the Caldera Repeater 2 Doouble IPA at first.  It was true to a double IPA.  I love these brews but I personally cannot drink them all night, the hops just make me more tongue tied than the alcohol.  After that, I sampled a bottled stout but unfortunately forgot the name.  

It was a good night and I wish I had stayed longer.  Then again, I might not have made it to the last train so there is that.

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 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.

Quickie at the coffee shop


Just saying hi before I’m off to a favorite spot for a new year craft beer party. Should be great. There will be lots of good cheeses along with the beer. I hope to get a chance to write about it tomorrow or tonight. I really need to since I’ve had some nice brews in the last few months and haven’t written a word.

Summer Time Beer


Yet another time where it’s been far too long. Well tomorrow is my summer beer garden party. It’s not craft beer; it’s going to be standard Kirin. But many good old friends will be caught up on each others lives, new friends will be made, etc. oh, it’s also all-you-can-eat—all-can-drink! Yaen is always a great place fun summer shenanigans.

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