World Craft Beer Tasting

It’s nearly here.  The World Craft Beer Tasting, put together by Craft Beer Base and Ajen Birmingham along with the Japan Craft Beer Association, is coming up the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd.
The line up is phenomenal.  Though there will be many great Japanese craft beers like Minoh, Baird, Ise Kadoya, North Island Beer, and Fujizakura the international selection is what stands out for me:  Stone Brewing, Southern Tier, Rogue, Brew Dog and many more.
There will be food from some the best restaurants in Kansai featuring dishes that will without a doubt pair well with many of the beers offered.

To top it all off there will be live music the whole time and areas for kids so moms and dads, uncles, aunts, grandmas, and grandpas can all enjoy some beautifully made beer  while their little ones can enjoy themselves as well.

I’ll be there both days doing what I can to help out.  I love beer tasters.


Summer of Beer

It’s been far too long for me.I’d like to say I’m busy but it’s not really the case.  I believe I’m in the middle of my beer summer right now.

Last Beer Before Summer

But before that, I’ll catch those of you who read this up.  I made one last beer back at the end of April.  It was brewed just in time for Golden Week so I could let it ferment while I was away camping for the weekend.  I had high hopes; it was to be a hoppier version of my IPA/2IPA.  Sandpiper IPA 2.7 had plain amber malt extract syrup just as the previous versions.  This time I used hops I bought from the U.S. through  The hop bill was 50g of Bravo for 45 minutes. For finishing I alternated between Centennial and Willamette for the last 15 minutes.  The wort was about as bitter as I though possible.  I pitched my final Wyeast 1054 from a starter and things went well.  Then we went camping.

I was the first in the front door upon returning and went straight to opening all the windows.  I got to the bedroom and saw the closet light on.  Horror went through me–maybe just a fearful chill down my spine.  The halogen light left on all weekend had driven the temperature up way past what is good for an ale: up around 30°C.  Actually I’m lucky nothing caught on fire.

I let the fermentation period continue and hoped the hoppiness would cover any odd flavors.  Bottling proceeded without a hitch.  Forty bottles were set aside in the closet to condition.  With that, I went into the summer of beer events and festivals.

Let the Summer Beer Begin!

At the end of May I volunteered at the Kyoto Craft Beer Festival and had a great time even with the nasty sunburn I let myself get.  A few weekends later I was at a friends craft beer shop opening party (Craft Beer Base in Umeda–link to come) and then Craft Beer Live in Namba.  I took some bottles of the young beer to share with other home brewers.  A few were opened and the result was not good.  I was worried but not hopeful.  Sound odd?

Namba was great.  My daughter went along and enjoyed playing with other kids who came along with their home brewing parents.  We found a place under the closest bridge near Dotonbori and relaxed with the craft beers of Kansai and our own home-brewed wares.

Last Sunday I went to Minoh Beer‘s 15th Anniversary Beer Festival.  They showcased all their best beers and Ise Kadoya even came with a beer they brewed just for the occasion.  Unfortunately I enjoyed it too much but I met lots more home brewers who liked my Sandpiper IPA 2.7 this time.  The apparent carboard flavors had ceased and the beer has matured into something quite hoppy!  The Centennial hops lend citrus notes but are nearly overpowered by the strong Bravo bittering hops.  I sent a bottle to my parents just the other day along with my Trans-oceanic Ale and my Not-So Blonde Ale (dry-hopped with Liberty hop goodness).

Onto Bigger and other Beers!

So I’m taking a break for this weekend.  Sticking with a few cans of chu-hai and martinis.  Next weekend, I’m going to a nice all you can eat/drink beer garden on the rooftop of the Shin-Hankyu building in Umeda.  Should be great fun.  The beer is not craft but the friends I make is why I go.  We must always remember to have fun drinking beer and not take it too seriously.

The BeerFes Osaka 2012 is coming up in a few weeks.  That will be my highlight of my Japanese beer summer.  There will be more beers than I can try, and many I will try at least twice.

After that I will be heading to the U.S. where I will be drinking all the craft beers I can’t get over here.  I already have a tentative list.  Maybe I’ll publish it later.  Any suggestions?

From Craft Beer Tastings to Home Brew

I thought that beginning this blog with something big would be best.  It also means I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to write well too.  I’ve never really done much blogging and never focused on anything in writing like this so please forgive my writing.  I hope it will improve with more experience.  So, with that out of the way, let’s get to the craft beer taster and beyond.

I love craft beer.  November 19th gave me an opportunity to enjoy a variety of beers from two prominent Japanese craft breweries and help educate people about the virtues of this heavenly drink.  Cafe Absinthe was the venue providing a beautiful spread of Mediterranean food the restaurant is well known for in Osaka.  It was great helping my friend Ajen who organized the event.  He worked with Minoh Beer and Baird Beer putting together a careful selection of brew that paired deliciously with the food.   I helped wherever I could but mostly served some of the best Baird Beer I’ve ever had.  I’d love to go into the characteristics of each beer I sampled but that is something I’d like to leave for future posts.  On top of that, the head brewers from each brewery gave a short talk on their craft.  I missed these keeping the beer going downstairs but I know I’ll have another chance.

I should have posted immediately but a down side to enjoying a night of craft beer is a day of recovery and rest.  I also needed my strength for the following Sunday’s home brew get-together.  I can’t go into the whereabouts of this outing or who was involved but the number of bottles and variety of beer involved was something to feast the eyes on as well as the palate.  I took a few samples of my own and enjoyed samples from others.  My first home brew taster was an eye opener and I went home with so many ideas of how to improve my brewing.  We also were drinking outside in 10°C weather so some of the guys seem to have comedown with colds.  No one is complaining though.

I guess that is all for now but I will try to post more now that I have started this.  I need to get to Eni-bru in Osaka as well as they’ve got a phenomenal selection of craft brew from around the world.

Japan Craft Beer Group

Japan Craft Beer Group.  So this is a soft opening to my beer blog.  if you’re interested, let me know.  I’ll be working this craft beer taster on November 19th.  I wouldn’t call it work since it’s the kind of work that is just plain fun where you get to see your friends, make new ones and enjoy good times.

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