Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And we're back again!

Another delay, I won’t bother my few readers with the reasons as to why it has taken me so long to make another update. While in California I had more than a few really good beverages. I however grew lazy and among other things did not write them down. I will have my readers know though that I really enjoyed a few from Lagunitas Brewing Company as well as Mission Brewing.  That said, we will move on to more recent developments. And this time, abroad again!

First off since moving to Hikone in Shiga prefecture, I have had a hell of a time getting good craft beer. None of the continence stores sell it. It is possible to find at specialty stores, but those seem to be reasonably rare.
We will start with two that I picked up first. I got them at a small liquor store (of course specializing in sake). They were a bit over 500 yen each. The one pictured on the left was the better of the two. Though a bit lack luster in taste, it was very drinkable, crisp and kind of reminded me a bit of pale ale. The bottle pictured to the right with the Samurai on it was awful, over carbonated and way to sweet. It had a mild raspberry flavor. I’m definitely not a fan of fruit beer. I would steer clear of it.

During a trip to Kyoto we did some exploring in one of the many shopping districts. There were of course many restaurants some of which advertising a beer “selection” Naturally I had to investigate, for science. As it was they generally held the weak “variety” that this region seems to support. Mainly they were: Guniess, Becks, Budwiser, Corona and Stella Artois. I’m not spending money on any of those, especially the premium 700+ yen these places were asking. I did however see a few bottles I did not recognize. But, I have a limit, and 1100 yen is just too much for one bottle. So, we walked to the next block over and saw a
JCA? O.o
small sake and wine shop. They had the same bottles that the restaurant was offering but 450 yen cheaper, deal. So I bought two.  The one with the blue label I don’t recall as much. I remember it being decent, but light with mild hops. The red label bottle was better. It had a slightly caramel taste, a bit malty, very good. The last bottle pictured was probably my favorite. I found it at a Jupiter import store in Kyoto station. I was initially intrigued by the little owl, and the fact that I had no idea what a Japanese Classic Ale was… So, for science, I tested it. I was pleasantly surprised that it basically was an IPA, my favorite kind of beer. And with 7% ABV I couldn't complain. It was great.  The bottle told a brief story about how that was the first kind of beer to be developed in Japan. Somehow I’m not 100% sure about that one, either way though, I would not mind seeing this more widely available.

Kirin, Kirin everywhere!
During a trip to Osaka a few weeks ago, I went to an omiyage shop looking around at all the Hello Kitty themed souvenirs; I saw a small cooler in the back stocked with water and tea. As well as a few bottles of sake and a beer with an octopus on it. I had just had my first takoyaki the night before so I decided… why not? I was expecting the beer to have ground up octopus in it, however, it did not. It had a fairly generic lager taste. Not bad, not worth 500 yen, but it was decent. The other two I have shown here are nothing
terribly special. Kirin Lager Beer is a go to out here, there is a Kirin factory in Shiga, so it is pretty much everywhere. Sapporo, Yebisu and even Asahi are less common. On the far right I added a cheaper alternative to Kirin Lager. Basically from what I can tell it’s the PBR of Japan. *Shrugs* the frat boys need to drink something right? Anyway, thanks for reading, take care everyone.


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