Thursday, November 22, 2012

Japanese Craft Beer Breweries on Twitter / ツイッターで日本のクラフトビール醸造所

In early November the 生ビールブログ (Draft Beer Blog) took a look how many people were Facebook fans of (or "Like") various Japanese breweries. Have a look HERE:

So, I decided to see how Twitter is being used by the craft beer industry in Japan. Or more specifically, I wanted to see how many “Followers” craft beer breweries currently have.

Although Facebook by far the larger of the two social networks, Twitter is growing faster. Twitter is also the quickest way to find out what’s happening, in politics, business, and probably in beer as well. It’s for real-time conversations, not what happened yesterday, last week, or when you were in high school.

Some breweries have Facebook pages as promotional tools but do not yet have Twitter accounts. Below are the ones I could find.

Japanese Craft Beer Breweries -- Twitter “Follower” numbers on 11/22/2012:
Yona Yona Ale 6,445
Sankt Gallen 5,060
Minoh 3,457
Aqula 3,194
Kiuchi 2,543
Baeren 2,115
Fujizakura Heights Beer 2,023
Swan Lake 1,879
Kamakura Beer 1,878
Gargery 1,726
Gotemba Kogen Beer 1,686
COED0 1,419
Bay Brewing Yokohama 1,384
Yokohama Brewery 1,378
Otaru Beer 1,170
Taisetsu Ji Beer 1,094
Tazawako Beer 1,094
Banya Beer 1,066
Ise Kadoya 1,061
Nagisa 984
Baird Brewing 814
Kisoji Beer 710
Zakkoku Beer 592
Echigo 420
Kagua 410
Nippon Beer 406
Brimmer 257
Ichioji Brewery 301
North Island Beer 216
Rokko Beer 200
Matsue / Beer Hearun 196
Ginga Kogen 44
Hakusekikan Beer 10
Nagahama Roman Beer 4

Notice that the top spot is occupied by Yona Yona, the beer -- not Yo-Ho, the company which makes it. It is one of the most widely available of craft beers in Japan, certainly much more so than the other brews they produce. Near the bottom is Hakusekikan, a very interesting and experimental brewer, but one which went out of business at the end of August this year.

Also, several popular craft beer makers are not listed. Perhaps they are busier brewing beer than promoting it. But I imagine it won't be long before they too are tweeting and gaining followers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sampling Session -- November 3, 2012

Last weekend, we had a beer sampling session and then attended Tadg’s Bar & AQ Bevolution Epic Brewing Co. & Gyoza Party in Kyoto. AQ Bevolution is one of the newer beer distributors bringing great U.S. craft beer to Japan.

First, some of the sampling highlights:

Weyerbacher Insanity  --  4 (out of 5)
This one was a 2010 vintage bottle. Big sweet oak nose. Clear dark brown with a thin touch of foam. Very smooth sweet initial flavors, with a lot of heavy oak in mid palate. Some bourbon emerged near the end. Great mouth feel. Lovely stuff.

Mikkeller/To Øl Walk On Water  --  3.8
Big sweetness and grapefruit in the nose. At first, the alcohol is like a hard slap. Golden blond color. Slightly sour, and then it becomes very sweet. Strong fruit notes: peaches, oranges, prunes. A heavy-hitting beer, full of flavors.

St. Bernardus Prior 8  --  3.7
2005 vintage. Smooth, rich fruit aroma -- prunes, raisins, dates -- and dark sugar. Watery brown color. Very mild fruity initial; the alcohol becomes noticeable in mid palate; flavors smoothly slip away in final. Perhaps it has lost a bit of its flavor over the seven years, but it has also mellowed very nicely.

Deschutes Conflux No. 1 – Collage  --  3.5
The is a collaboration beer, which is a blend of Deschutes’ The Dissident and The Stoic, and Hair of the Dog’s Fred and Adam. Sharp phenolic nose, some vinegar, a slight chemical note, too. Clear dark brown brandy-like color. The distinctive characteristics of each of the four brews are mellowed out into a kind of sweet beer soup. The oak comes out clearly in the finish. I do like this, but would really prefer to drink the four beers by themselves, as individual experiences.

Thanks to Albert of AQ Bevolution, we had a chance to sample several brews from Utah's Epic Brewing Co., both bottled or on tap, including the following:

Epic Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale  --  4
Fruity nose (peach, berries), with light hopping. Clear medium dark straw color. Beautiful peach flavor in initial; this strengthens in mid palate; in the finish, it all levels out and glides down to a pleasant sweetness. Lip-smacking stuff.

Epic Hopulent IPA  --  3.8
Great stinky hop aroma. Cloudy orange color. Hops dominate the initial; a mild sweet fruitiness emerges in mid palate; final leaves strong tracks of hop bitterness. Very good.

Epic / DC Brau Fermentation Without Representation  --  3.6 
Epic’s first collaboration brew. Good coffee nose, with pumpkin and spice. Very spicy initial flavor; mid palate has some chocolate notes; the finish lets the chocolate develop a bit more. I hate pumpkin pie, but I like this.
Epic Brainless on Peaches  --  3.5
Mild yeastiness and very fresh fruity nose. Pretty hazy orangeish color. Mild initial; the peaches are not apparent until the finish. Very pleasant stuff.

AQ Bevolution