The World Craft Beer Tasting was held in Nakazakicho, Osaka on September 22nd and 23rd. Sponsored and organized by Osaka’s Craft Beer Base and Ajen Birmingham together with the Japan Craft Beer Association, it was definitely one of the better-managed beer festivals I’ve been to.
In addition to the tidy outdoor area for beer and food stalls, there were two indoor spaces: one featuring a variety of live music throughout the day, and the other a play area for children. For me, at least, it was great to have the loud music in a space away from the main tasting area -- so as not distract from the beer tasting and the conversation.
The beer lineup was limited but sufficient and also very well selected. Several of the best-known Japanese breweries were on hand, including Shiga Kogen, Daisen G Beer, Ise Kadoya, Fujizakura, Minoh, Shimane, and North Island. They shared space with beer stalls operated by three prominent importing companies: Nagano Trading, Ezo Beer, and AQ Bevolution., who offered a first-rate group of beers from the USA, Belgium, and Norway.
The commemorative glass was larger than usual, and typical serving were around a US half pint size, rather than the 100 ml. or so offered at most beer events.
Here are a few of the standout brews of the day.
Really heavy grassy aroma with some good hops, too. Very pale straw with a pretty and very creamy head. Striking bitter initial; and then the hops bite a bit more in mid palate; mild grassy finish. Crisp and very refreshing, with a punch. Good body, lots of hopping.
Very complex floral and yeasty aroma. Bright but cloudy apple juice color. Sharp tartness in initial; mid had a punch of grapefruit; finish has a nice big hit of hoppiness. The brewer said it is a Golden Ale, and that it has some wheat and Belgian yeast. Very interesting stuff
Concentrated sweetness hits the nose; a honey bomb. Brilliant, glowing straw color. Very sweet initial; in mid palate, the sweetness is extended and the balances a bit with the hopping; final is a continuation of that sweet malt, and it tapers off very slowly. Medium body. Sweet but not at all cloying.
Haandbryggeriet Dark Force
Sweet coffee and a load of chocolate in the nose. Black as can be, with a smooth tan head. Initial is silky, with good sharp chocolate notes and a sweet, roast malt character; mid palate bring even more rising sweetness; hops and chocolate coat the tongue in the finish. Very creamy, thick body. A great imperial stout.
I wish I could have attended both days. The organizers held back about half of the listed beers for the second day, and there were several that I wanted to try. In any event, hats off to them. They created a fun, manageable, and memorable event.