Chugging Craft Beer in Japan
Ever since strict beer laws were relaxed in 1994, craft beer in Japan started sproutin’ up left and right. Each time I go to a beer festival or specialty shop in Japan, I’m surprised to find ALL KINDS of new and interesting microbrews I’ve never seen before.
Now, I ain’t no craft beer expert, but I do appreciate a buck wild brew just as much as the next guy. So behold a random selection of craft beers I recently picked up at the shop near Tokyo.
Doppo Unagi Beer
Here we’ve got a black beer made by Miyashita Brewery in Okayama Prefecture. Aside from making sake (rice wine) and other beverages, this company also makes at least 14 different beer varieties under the “Doppo” name.
Now, this particular variety I got is the “Unagi” version. It’s actually meant to be drunk alongside a meal of Japanese eel, but I didn’t happen to have any fuckin’ eel in my fridge at the time so I had to make do without it. So I poured that bad boy into a glass and slammed back a few gulps. The beer itself had a pretty strong, malty flavor with a slight hint of coffee and chocolate flavors. To be honest, it was a tad too bitter and strong for my liking, so I rate it at 2/5 dawgs (meaning it tasted okay, but I wouldn’t get it again). Perhaps if I had a huge-ass plate of eel on the side, I would have rated it differently.
Despite the lackluster taste of this beer, the Doppo line of beers has some other varieties that I wouldn’t mind trying out. These include “Omachi Sake Rice Lager”, “Doppo Peach Pils”, and “White Beer for Oysters” (meant to be slammed back with fresh oyster action). It sounds like some interesting concoctions right there.
Next up, we’ve got a pilsner made by Gassan Meisuikan from Yamagata Prefecture. I couldn’t find much out about this beer except that the brewery also makes sake, fruit juices, and other nonalcoholic beverages. Gassan makes a pretty basic selection of standard beers (Bock, Ale, Weizen, etc), nothing too fancy.
Now the first thing I noticed when I poured out this beer was the piss-like clarity. With no cloudiness, little carbonation, and hardly any head to speak of, I was thinking this badboy looked more like apple juice than beer. Nonetheless, I slammed a sip back. Now the beer had a light body, slight sourness, and bitter hop after-taste. It kind of had a water-like consistency. The beer was good overall but nothing particularly memorable about it. In other words, I also rate this beer at 2/5 dawgs.
Moving on, we’ve got Sanuki Beer made by Kagawa Brewery in Kagawa Prefecture. This company produces bottled water, various Japanese spirits, a few basic varieties of beer, and garlic products, among other things. Shit’s gettin’ crazy around here.
Now apparently the Sanuki beer I got is a German-style beer. The website recommends that the beer be drunk at slightly below room temperature, but I fuckin’ busted into that bottle like a wild man. I don’t have that kind of time, baby.
At any rate, I poured out the beer and took a few sips. And wow, just wow. That beer was slightly thin-bodied. Its aftertaste was nice and hoppy without being too strong. What I’m trying to say is a nice fuckin’ beer right there. It seemed like the kind of beer you could both enjoy in small quantities and in insanely large quantities. Overall, I’d rate it at 3/5 dawgs (meaning it tasted good, and I might get it again).
Yamaguchi Pale Ale
Next up, we’ve got a pale ale by Yamaguchi Narutaki Kogen Brewery in Yamaguchi Prefecture. One look at the company website and I’m confused as fuck because not only is this place a brewery, but it’s also a wedding hall. Long story short, I can’t find much information about this company in English but I think it’s safe to say that that’s one buckwild brewery right there.
Anyway, I poured out that beer and it was looking nice … REAL nice. I took a taste and could immediately taste a medley of subtle fruitiness and spiciness with a decent hop aftertaste. There seemed to be a bit of complexity to this brew and personally, I thought that was a nice fuckin’ beer right there. Overall, I’d give it 3/5 dawgs.
Osaka Dojima Beer
Last but not least, we’ve got a beer brewed by Osaka Kuni no Cho in Osaka. This company produces at least 12 varieties of craft beer along with sake. Again, there is very little information about this company online so I’m just flying blind in this mother.
Nevertheless, I poured out this beer and was quite surprised by the size of the head. Maybe I just did a shit job pouring it. But compared to all the other beers I’ve tried during this session, this beer has by far the biggest head. Anyway, I tasted the beer and was surprised by its smoothness. The creamy head seemed to lubricate that alcoholic beverage flying down my throat. At the same time, the beer itself was kind of light. I couldn’t sense much of anything noteworthy in the flavor department except a subtle herby flavor. But overall, that beer went down so smooth it was almost like I was chugging a milkshake. In other words, I’d rate that beer at 3/5 dawgs.
So that’s the end of my tasting session, baby. Overall, there were no stand-out life-changing craft beers, but I did come across a few at the end that left me feeling satisfied. So thanks for checking out this blog post. Why don’t you leave a comment, let me know what you think?