Thursday, July 21, 2011

USO Beer / 嘘ビール

During the hot summer months in Japan, company co-workers often head out to beer gardens after work. But all too frequently, heavy-drinking bosses try to refill glasses and keep everyone on the same page, in terms of drinks consumed.

Here's a product designed to foil such antics. It's a plastic beer mug that looks like it's full of beer. A special ink inside the plastic becomes yellow when the mug is filled with ice water, making it appear that the mug is full of beer. 

The product is called “USO Beer” (fake beer). Cocktail glass and wine glass models are also available.

HERE is a video demonstration

To be honest, the color does not entirely resemble the pale yellow tints of lager beer. But perhaps the busy boss will not even notice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Great Japan Beer Festival Osaka 2011 / ビアフェス大阪 2011

Went to the Great Japan Beer Festival in Osaka last Saturday. This three-day affair is the largest annual beer event in the Kansai region, and always offers an array of new beers to sample, some great and some abysmal.

The venue was the Osaka Dome, a curving hall area around the top floor, with a somewhat disconcerting spaceship feel. We linked up with several regular observers of the Japanese craft beer scene. We were also graced by the presence of visiting Hitachino Nest brewer, George Juniper, and the Grand Master Blaster Beer Taster, Chuwy (of “The Boozelist” renown). The space was packed initially, but soon thinned into small clumps of boisterous patrons, and we were easily able to avoid the crowds around fruit beer booths.

 Here are a few of the beers that made an impression:
Tazawako Rauch: as smoky as possible, with a strangely appealing burnt rubber aroma and a heavy, oily mouthfeel

HarvestmoonSchwartzbier: a pleasant aroma with a roasty, bitter aftertaste, just great

Harvestmoon Barley Wine: pleasant nose, a strong punch, yet a bit light for a barley wine, and also perhaps too young and hot

Fujizakura Chocolate Wheat: a fruity choco aroma, very pleasant, a well-done wheat beer with a little pungency in the mid palate, just the right level of bitterness, and some sweetness at the end, mild and wonderful

Baird Suruga Bay Imperial IPA: malty and hoppy in the west coast manner, with what seems to be Cascade hopping but also something darker and deeper. Its flavors explode in the mouth. 

Baird Single Take Session Ale: a Belgian yeasty character, citrus aroma, and strong carbonation. This light (3.5%), refreshing brew was inspired by Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” (a song that never seems to end) and is a beer that can be sampled over and over.

Isekadoya Imperial Red: a clean mouthfeel … and then the dark, dirty hops kick in

Baren Enmusubi Stout: regular stout character, with a mild smooth mouthfeel, not much in the way of aroma, but perfectly balanced

There was a larger selection of fruit/spice/vegetable beers than in the past, none worse than - Brewpub Pangaea’s Shinagawa Kabu Bakushu, made with turnips and featuring an absurd assault of overpowering vinegar fumes
- (and, okay, one more) K’s Chocolate Brewmaster, which Lefty claimed “should never have been made.”

Best of the Fest (according to Lefty and George Juniper): 
Baird Suruga Bay Imperial IPA
Fujizakura Pils
Harvestmoon Barley Wine
Hideji Taiyo Lager
Minoh Imperial Stout
Shonan Chocolate Porter
Yokohama Lager

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA Collaboration video on YouTube

Have a look at this video, in which the three brewers explain the how they
got together on this project. Video is HERE.