Sunday, June 10, 2012

Making Bad Beer Better: Part 2

Nearly two years ago, a friend told me of his technique for making bad beer taste better. I posted a brief description of it HERE (it involved beef jerky).

Recently he sent me a link to a hilarious article on the Gizmodo site, in which a half-crazed beer lover tries to improve the flavor of Coors Light. Not once, not twice, but in the spirit of science and beer love -- six different ways. Have a look at it HERE. Note: he doesn't call it "bad beer," but uses a much harsher phrase, one you are more likely to hear from craft beer geeks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Osaka's "Beer Belly" in The New York Times

The June 7, 2012 online edition of The NY Times has a travel feature on interesting things to do in Osaka. The writer, Ingrid K. Williams, takes us on a tour of twelve popular tourist spots in and around the city. One of the last stops is the Higobashi branch of Beer Belly. Have a look: 36 Hours in Osaka, Japan.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

CRAFT BEER LIVE 2012 in なんば

Craft Beer Live in Namba was held on May 26-27, a beautiful sunny weekend, at the Minato Riverplace in Namba. Seventeen breweries from the Kansai region set up stalls (five from Kyoto Prefecture, four from Osaka, four from Hyogo, two from Shiga, and one each from Nara and Wakayama) in the large plaza area. Several of these are quite small and their brews are rarely seen, even in Kyoto or Osaka. Kyoto's Ichijoji Brewery brought out around ten or eleven different styles.

It was definitely much more crowded than last year. We arrived only a half hour after the event started, and it was already getting a bit uncomfortable.

There were already long lines for the food stalls --  set up by some of the regions better beer bars, such as Qbrick and eni-bru.


The festival opened with a rousing kanpai, led by Oshita-san of Minoh Beer.

And then we made the rounds. Here are a few highlights:

Minoh Brown Ale
A special brew produced for this event. Pleasant chocolate aroma with some coffee. Muddy brown with a thin tan head. A mid-palate burst of some floral & fruity flavors. Great, smooth aftertaste. Maybe a bit off for the style, but a tasty beer.

Minoh W-IPA
Medium-strength hop kick in the nose. Very thick, cloudy, with a 3/4-inch head. Deep, dark flavors with a long bitter finish. Rather thick and sticky. Not the beer it once was, but it is certainly better has it has been, or "good for lately," in the words of a fellow drinker.

Tango Meister
Honey and some lemon in the nose. Big (one-inch) head with strange little carbonation globules floating up, like tiny frogs’ eggs. Mild flavors of honey and lemon. Heavy body, in spite of the rice that is included.

Akashi Merikan Beer
One of the better and true-to style pils made in Japan. Clean aroma and grassy hops. Well-made.

Ichijoji Cinnamon Ale
Strong cinnamon aroma, candyish. Light orange-brown, no head. Slightly medicinal flavors, which flatten out in the final, leaving a coating of cinnamon on the tongue. Dryish and sticky, with light-medium body. Not really my thing at all, but I’ll allow a few extra points for the novelty aspect.

Later in the day, we moved off to a quiet area to sample a couple of special bottles that we had brought with us:

Hair of the Dog Matt


Founders Nemesis 2009

.... and finally, we headed off to finish the day at the area's newest craft beer bar: Craft Beer Works Kamikaze.