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.


A Day at the Beach

It’s sad but a good friend is leaving. He has been in Japan for nearly a decade and he has, along with his family, decided it is time to move on, take a new path in life. He was the friend who got me interested in home brewing. We made a few good brews together, and enjoyed drinking quite a few together.

Last Sunday the local home brewers got together at a popular beach in Kobe with a 20 liter keg of American Pale ale we had made a month before. We set up in the shade of trees in a park nearby. Besides the keg, there were a few other home brews and craft brews on hand.

The APA was a malty brew with just the right amount of hops. Even in the summer heat it was good.  It wasn’t crisp and refreshing but it was something I would, could, come back to anytime of the year.  The beer was only in the keg for a week so it is still quite green. I hope I can get another taste soon for comparison.

There was a hefeweizen on hand, as well, which was nice for the season but had a bit of a banana flavor that seemed wrong; it seemed just a little too much.

In the end it it was a good day even if we had to say goodbye. The beach was a nice place to do it, though.

Hopefully, in a year or so, I’ll be heading over to England with fellow brewers and/or family to see this good friend.  There will definitely be a local beer tour somewhere in there.

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.

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