Brews News Issue 19 -- October 1999
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Japan Hometown Craft Beer Fair
(Furusato Meimon Beer Fair)

Dates: October 14 – 16, 1999

Times: Thursday & Friday 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday 11 am to 6 pm

Location: Tokyo Big Site – Take the Yuri Kamome line from Shinbashi to Kokusai Tenjijo Seimon-mae station.

Here's another chance to try a variety of local beers from throughout Japan, and take in some traditional local dance by troupes from Hokkaido, Shikoku and Okinawa. The Japan Hometown Craft Beer Fair is running concurrently with the Asia Bev '99 trade show also going on at Big Site.

Admission to the Beer Fair is free, and beer will cost 350 yen per glass. Over 40 varieties of beer from 18 breweries throughout Japan will be served. Participating breweries (from north to south) are:

  • Hokuto Kogen Beer – Asahikawa, Hokkaido
  • Erimo Beer – Hidaka, Hokkaido ** recommended
  • Pirongusu Beer – Hakodate, Hokkaido
  • Tazawako Beer – Lake Tazawa, Akita * recommended
  • Echigo Beer – Makimachi, Niigata ** recommended
  • Nasu Kogen Beer – Nasu Kogen, Tochigi
  • Shinano Beer – Nagano prefecture
  • Ozeno Yukidoke – Gunma prefecture
  • Hitachino Nest Beer – Hitachino, Ibaraki **recommended
  • Hida Takayama Bakushu – Gifu prefecture *recommended
  • Tama Beer – Tama, Tokyo
  • Koumi Beer – Aichi prefecture
  • Kyoto Machiya Bakushu – Kyoto
  • Doppo Beer – Okayama City
  • Reeden Beer – Fukuyama, Hiroshima *recommended
  • Umenishiki Beer – Ehime prefecture
  • Satsuma Beer – Kagoshima prefecture *recommended
  • Helios Beer – Okinawa **recommended

The above recommendation indications are breweries from which I have had some quite good (*) or truly great (**) beers. Many of the breweries without any indication are those I am unfamiliar with.

For more details, phone the organizers (in Japanese) at 3989-7550

Calling All Homebrewers

With the cooler weather now prevailing, the brewing season is now in full swing for those of us who do it at home. I thought it would be nice to get together with a handful of other homebrewers for a friendly tasting and talk-shop sometime in late November or early December when everyone's beer is finally ready to drink. If you live in the Tokyo/Yokohama vicinity and are interested in joining and bringing along a few of your brews, please drop me an e-mail message. – Bryan at brewsnews@yahoo.com

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Yokohama Microbrew Scene Heating Up with Good Cold Brew!
a report on Braustuberl Yokohama
By Aaron Held

The atmosphere is pretty nice, though the music motif doesn't quite fit the German-style decor. Service is friendly and efficient. Now, on to the beers:

Pilsner - Crystal clear, no distinguishing hop aroma (despite the menu's assertion that this is an aromatic beer). Very crisp and refreshing, never cloying. Extremely well balanced, especially as the glass warms up and the hop bitterness comes to life. A very well balanced and enjoyable beer.

Weizen - Wonderful fruit/clove aroma. Beautifully cloudy. Chewy palate. Very highly carbonated. This will give Ginga Kogen a run for its money (my guess is that most drinkers familiar with Ginga Kogen will find the high carbonation to be the most distinguishing point from Ginga Kogen). Very nice.

Dinkel - The copper-colored lagers of Germany are called "Dunkel." Stuttgart's Dinkelacker (founded 1888) is named after brewer Carl Dinkelacker, but his name doesn't denote a style. Neither does this beer, as far as I know. So, what is "Dinkel"? It is a light colored, yet somewhat heavier, maltier, sweeter version of the Pilsner. Difficult to place in context (unless someone can educate me on the style), but a wonderfully balanced and enjoyable beer.

Stout - This is where we take the gloves off. I first thought it strange to find a beer denoted "Stout" (a British style) in a German-accented brewery. This beer, though likely bottom fermented like a Munich Lager, is exceptionally sweet, quite like Mackeson Stout (of London's Whitbread, brewed in Lancashire). Like Ginga Kogen's Stout, it could be a misnomer, and a disappointment to those looking for a bitter, roasty beer like Guinness. But for the adventurous, it is a sweet-espresso of a beer, to be enjoyed with creamy/potato dishes or dessert.

Apple Munich - Beautiful reddish-amber color. The faint apple aroma and flavor is reminiscent of red apples, so it must come from red apples or juice extract (by contrast, green apple flavors often come from low attenuating yeasts that leave a mix of tartness and tannins behind). Again, very well balanced, and the apple twist gives it a bit of a bold departure from the average Japanese micro effort. Very nice, indeed.

I truly enjoyed this place, and would urge beer lovers in the area to give it a try.

Braustuberl Yokohama
World Porters 1F
Shin Minato-cho 11
Naka-ku, Yokohama
Phone: 045-222-2108
Fax: 045-222-2158

Open daily 10:00am to last call 10:30pm.

It's a leisurely ten-minute walk from Sakuragi-cho station on the Toyoko and JR lines.

Note from the editor: after I received this report from Aaron, I realized that further serious research was necessary, so I met up with him and Robb Satterwhite of the Tokyo Food Page and checked out the Braustuberl for myself. Aaron was spot-on with the beer descriptions, but we found the food to be uneven – stick to bread and sausages and salad and the wonderful German Potato and you're more likely to leave satisfied as far as eats go. I found out that the beers are made in Miyoshi, then trucked into Braustuberl in large barrels. Quite an interesting arrangement that works well, hopefully the company behind this (Kyodo Shoji) will open up other places serving this beer. I found the Pils to be outstanding, and that's quite a feat for a startup microbrewery. Thanks again to Aaron for the report, and look forward to his next dispatch from Yokohama. I always appreciate reports from readers, so if there's something near you worth writing about, please do so and send it in – Bryan.

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Queen's Brewery

Just a stein's throw from Braustuberl Yokohama is the Queen's Brewery, which must be the most unusual micro in all of Japan. First of all, this is no classy brewpub with a specific theme – it's one of several counters in a fast-food court off a shopping mall. Coke? Root beer? Naw, I'll have an Amber Ale with my burger.

Second, the beer is of the happo-shu variety, which means either the malt content is lower or that special ingredients have been added which are not allowed in what is classified as beer. The yearly production minimum for a happo-shu brewery is only 6,000 liters instead of the 60,000 liters for a "beer" brewery, so in this case having a brewery here is actually possible. If they were making beer according to the official definition, they would have to sell an average of almost 165 liters per day to make the 60,000 liter required minimum. Factor in the sleepy weekdays and you'll see that this is impossible.

Besides, a well-made happo-shu (Hoegaarden White and all of the fruit lambics are but a few examples) is invariably better than mass-produced beer, and this is even true for the brews at Queen's. Better yet, they’re really nice folks and will offer you tiny tasting cups of all varieties on tap – for free! Now that kind of sincerity is hard to find at other Japanese microbreweries. After Aaron and I went through our samples, he chose the cream ale and I chose the amber. They were served in white ceramic mugs, so I couldn’t get any notes on the colors. Anyway, they were both fairly good considering the low price, and while the amber had a more pronounced flavor when cold (like most places, they serve their beer too cold), when both brews warmed up, the cream ale was clearly superior.

And it's a fairly good place to grab a snack. They mix barley malt in with their rice for the curry dishes, and also have a barley malt bread on hand. Plus, a few other places in the food court had some downright appealing looking deli-food, but we saved our appetites for a subsequent dinner at Braustuberl.

All in all, Queen's Brewery has its own charms, and while the brews are not full-on world-class micros, they are surprisingly good and reasonably priced. And, it's the second brewery in Japan with a female brewmaster, the first being Reeden Beer in Fukuyama, which employs a woman from Germany.

Queen's Brewery Yokohama is located in the basement of the Queen's Garden Court shopping center, just beyond Landmark Tower in Minato Mirai, a short walk from Sakuragi-cho station on the JR and Toyoko lines. They close early.

-- Bryan Harrell

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Kura Kura Offers "All You Can Drink" Craft Beer for Y2,500

The new Japanese microbrew pub in Shimokitazawa, Kura Kura, is now offering customers all the craft beer they can drink (in 90 minutes) for just Y2,500. This applies to only to the beers they serve on draft, and with a deal like this, I am not sure how they will keep everything in stock. Among the beers offered is Phred Kaufmann's delicious Buckwheat Ale (Soba Beer). Be sure to read how Phred Spent His Summer at the end of this Brews News.

Kura Kura is located just behind the left side of the Daiei Gourmet City supermarket, just outside the south exit of Shimokitazawa station, which is at the intersection of the Inokashira line from Shibuya and the Odakyu line from Shinjuku. It's open every weekday from 5:00 to 11:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 11:30 p.m.

Ji-Beer House Kura Kura
Kitazawa 2-20-19
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
(03) 5433-2323

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Ain't nobody here but us chickens...
...and a few kegs of Gotemba Kogen beer!

I was looking for a place to have lunch in Aoyama last month, and was suddenly surprised to see a sign for "Jidori & Jibiiru" – free-range chicken and craft beer. After taking a peek inside, I decided to go in for a chicken lunch, hold the beer, which wasn't being served at lunchtime anyway.

The place was one of a chain of restaurants called Kodawari-ya. They have good grilled chicken, and the craft beer they serve is Gotemba Kogen beer – not one of Japan’s most exciting microbrews, but nicely balanced and well-made and overall a great range of session beers, which are always preferable to the usual beers from the usual suspects: A-S-K-S. There are now 40 Kodawari-ya restaurants in the greater Tokyo area, according to a brochure I picked up at their Aoyama 246 location (3-1-1 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, 03-5414-2828). Other Kodawari-ya in central Tokyo are
Hibiya City (5251-7607),
Hibiya Mitsui Bldg. (3519-7615),
Yurakucho Forum (5221-1003),
Ginza 5-chome (3571-2025),
Higashi Ginza (3545-6932),
Kayaba-cho (3660-0158),
Nihonbashi (3279-8900),
Kanda Kitaguchi (3258-0133),
Kanda Ajisai Dori (3279-6160),
Nishi Shinjuku (5371-8384),
Shinjuku Nomura Bldg. (3346-1971),
Shin Okubo (3363-3377).
You can also check out their website at www.chimney.co.jp, though it seemed out of commission when I checked.

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Check, Please!

The Rising Sun in Yotsuya

Considered by many to be Tokyo's oldest British Pub, the Rising Sun in Yotsuya has drawn a lot of UK expats during the 25-plus years it's been in business. A friend recently visited and remarked about the beautiful old English tap handles on the bar, and how he'd seen them and ordered a pint of bitter from them only to find out they are for decoration. ("Just the name of the shop, luv," he said, recalling Monty Python's famous cheese shop sketch.) He complained to me that it was a cruel joke on real ale lovers to have the handles there, totally unconnected to anything resembling a beer engine much less a keg of real ale. He also complained that in this so-called English pub it was darn hard to find English beer. Hmmm.

Rising to the challenge, I sallied forth and visited the Rising Sun one evening to "check" the beers available. I thought my friend was exaggerating, and surely there must be a few cold Samuel Smith's ales in the fridge, or something equivalent. Or even Bass on tap – it's practically everywhere in central Tokyo these days.

But to my surprise, out of the seven varieties of beer served at The Rising Sun, only one is actually from England – an interesting Ginger Beer imported by Nippon Beer. One could argue that the Guinness Bitter (widget canned) and the Tokyo Ale No.3 (bottled) could be considered in the English style, the fact is that these are brewed in Ireland and Atsugi, respectively. (The Tokyo Ale, by the way, is easily the best and freshest brew in the joint.) Actually, I got the impression that The Rising Sun's most popular beer is probably Sapporo Black Label on draft. Lager, eh? Well, the soccer hooligans should be in any minute...

Nevertheless, I was after the English experience, and I got it with my Ginger Beer and pleasantly piquant pickled egg (200 yen). The owner Jerry wasn’t around to kid about the bogus tap handles, but I'm sure he gets it all the time from real ale lovers anyway.

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Craft Beer Home Delivery Starting Soon

Tengu Natural Foods will soon begin the import and sale of microbrew from the North Coast Brewing Co. of Fort Bragg, California. Located on the beautiful Mendocino county coast, North Coast has been receiving awards right and left at U.S. beer events for their tasty, well crafted brews. Tengu is currently planning to offer Scrimshaw Pilsener, Red Seal Ale and Old No.38 Stout at around Y380 per bottle, delivery extra, with small discounts for case orders. To be put on the mailing list, phone Tengu at 0429-85-8751 or drop me an e-mail at brewsnews@yahoo.com. You can also visit the Tengu Natural Foods website at www.tengufoods.com

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The BEER Ratings

The following beers were all tasted by Bryan Harrell.

FINE PRINT: These are tasting notes on a random assortment of beers, many available only this season, tasted up to October 10, 1999.

Only beers which are sold in Japan by the usual means are tasted and rated. Unless otherwise noted, prices are 200-240 yen and all are in 330-355 ml bottles (normal beer size). These are unfiltered tasting notes, so please don’t expect nicely edited grammatically perfect descriptions.

! ! ! ! ! Exceptional, among the best of its type in the world.
! ! ! ! Highly recommended, without hesitation or fine print.
! ! ! Recommended as being good, interesting, worth a try.
! ! Some people may like it; otherwise close but no cigar.
! We don't think you'll like it, but there's some reason why we mention it. You're on your own with this one.
ugh We recommend that you avoid this product.

! ! ! ! ! Exceptional, among the best of its type in the world.

    BUDWEISER Budvar (Czech Republic) – 5% alcohol. It was in the middle of August that I pulled one of these off the shelf. For some reason I wanted lager, and I think I got one of the world's best. Normally I go for Pilsner Urquell when I'm after a beer of this type, but hadn't had a Budvar in a while, so went for it. What awaited me when I opened the bottle was a composite of the very best characteristics of the world's great lagers. It seems that most lagers aim for this standard, but each only capture a few of the good points that make this beer a masterpiece. A very delicate aroma, flowery hops, perfect carbonation, totally ideal balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness with both nicely subdued, and a brisk finish with a long, soft tail. (Imagine what it tastes like on draft in Prague!) this Bud's for me. About 300 yen at Kawachiya in Shibuya.

! ! ! ! - Highly recommended, without hesitation or fine print.

    Echigo Pils (Niigata, Japan) – 5% alcohol. Straight on German style, right down to the big malt richness not normally present in Japanese lagers of this body. Very clean and well balanced, with a nice lingering hop finish. Overall not such a good value compared to certain well-imported German lagers such as Jever. However, it is easier to find. Available at some Seven-Eleven stores at 298 yen a can.

    Echigo Weiss (Niigata, Japan) – 5% alcohol. This is a happo-shu due to the addition of coriander and other spices, but the style is squarely between a Belgian Wit and a Berliner Weiss ("honey, where's the woodruff syrup?"). Clear pale yellow with a fruity herbal aroma. Light and refreshing with a rich, pleasing palette of flavors. Brewed for summer, but what enduring flavor! 298 yen a can at some Seven-Eleven stores.

    Naruko no Kaze Blueberry Ale (Miyagi, Japan) – 5% alcohol. Now this was a surprise. I'd expected a light fruit beer, but was confronted with an opaque deep purple ale with a wonderful blueberry aroma and crowned with a pastel violet head. Can I say this looks like a stout on LSD? Restrained fruit flavor, good balance with a deep malt backbone and a nice dry finish, with a faint blueberry sourness at the end. This rich ale was no wimpy fruit beer, and would make an excellent accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey or even a Christmas ham. Real blueberries give in an authentic fruit flavor. A bargain at 400 yen at Furusato Plaza in Harajuku. Brewed by the Naruko Onsen Brewery, 0229-86-2288.

    Persimmon Lager (Gifu, Japan) 6.5% alcohol. Beautiful fiery orange amber, thick creamy tan head, dry aroma with a faint fruit presence. Rich tangy taste, surprisingly dry finish, with a hint of persimmon flavor only in the aftertaste. Has a distinctly Belgian vibe, with subtle complexity. A happo-shu made with 25% malt, hops, persimmons. Brewed by the Seno Brewery of Gifu, which also concocted the unfortunate Sakura Amber in the 1-star category below. 500 yen at the regional products shop between Loft and Tipness in Shibuya.

    Tokyo Ale No.3 (Atsugi, Japan) – 5% alcohol. Made for the Tokyo Ale Company (www.tokyo-ale.com or phone 5469-1816) run by Doug, Dave, Mike and an assortment of interesting gaijin dudes. This amber ale is largely in the U.S. West Coast style, but toned down slightly to make it a good session beer. It's clean tasting, not too bitter, with some maltiness arising mid-palate. Available in many bars in central Tokyo. 380 yen, and available from their interesting website. Made by the Sankt Gallen Brewery in Atsugi, which produces the same beer as Sankt Gallen Amber, priced at only 330 yen, but much harder to find. The dudes at Tokyo Brewing are now planning a small brewpub somewhere in central Tokyo, for details check out their website.

! ! ! - Recommended as being good, interesting, worth a try.

    Anchor Pilsener (Singapore) – 5% alcohol. A friend remembered I like Anchor Beer, so brought this over. Whoops, no relation to the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, but a welcome quaff in the hot weather. Good crisp Asian-style lager but with a bit more fruitiness. Lingering sweetness make it good for the hot/sweet flavors of Thai or Indonesian food.

    Denen Red Ale (Ibaraki) – 5% alcohol. Easy drinking ale in the style of Bass Pale Ale, light copper gold, little aroma, rather light body with a clean lageresque finish. Well-balanced session ale. Brewed by Plaza Kawaba Beer, 0278-52-3711.

    Niigata Ale (Niigata, Japan) – 4.5% alcohol. This is a remarkably interesting pale ale that is made completely by traditional English methods. It is unpasteurized, unfiltered, and bottle conditioned. The label proclaims "100% natural triple hopping, bottle conditioning, therapy of your soul, queen of microbrewing." Yes, there's a good dose of yeast in the bottle, so let sit for a week in a cool place, then decant carefully if you don't like the mother in your beer. What your patience will be rewarded with is a nice real ale, smooth and slightly sour, with a fresh and unassuming array of flavors, and hopping closer to U.S. West Coast levels than traditional British practise. There's a nifty little graph on the back that indicates the rise and fall of sweetness, carbonation and other factors, so that you can time the consumption to fit the flavors you're after. This is obviously made in a small microbrewery by some purists. For details, phone the brewery on their toll-free number: 0120-43-2148. 240 yen a bottle at Komatsu in Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya.

    ! ! - Some people may like it; otherwise close but no cigar.

    Menebrea Beer (Italy) 4.8% alcohol. Very pale yellow, with a distinctly American mass-produced lager taste and slightly unusual tartness. Surprise, the label says it's made with malt and corn, so add rice and you’re getting close to the U.S. Budweiser recipe. Beautiful dark green bottle and gorgeous label that proclaims the brewery has been in existence since 1846. Bet they didn’t brew with corn back then, but then again, some people will like this taste. 250 yen at Isetan, imported as part of their Italy Fair.

    G. Menebrea e Figli 150th Anniversary Beer (Italy) – 5% alcohol. Golden amber, but otherwise read the above description of the beer from the same brewery. Imagine Schlitz brewing a Vienna-style lager. However, the antique-looking label is even more beautiful. 300 yen at Isetan.

! - We don't think you'll like it, but there's some reason why we mention it. You're on your own with this one.

    Sakura Amber (Gifu, Japan) – alcohol 4.5%. Yes, this is a cherry beer, and further proof that cherry beers are the hardest to make well, and it's best to leave the brewing of these to the Belgians, with their centuries of experience, or to clever upstarts like New Glarus in Wisconsin, USA, which makes the world's best non-Lambic cherry ale. Sakura Amber at least gets it right by pairing cherries with an amber ale, but still the results are disappointing. Reddish amber, tart fruit aroma, leading to a slightly medicinal flavor, poor balance, and not enough sweetness to back up the fruit properly. This is a happo-shu, with 25% malt, hops, cherry purée, cherries and sugar. Concocted by the Seno Brewery, makes the immensely more successsful Persimmon Lager in the 4-star category above. 550 yen at the regional products shop between Loft and Tipness in Shibuya.

ugh - We recommend that you avoid this product.

    Black Death (Belgium) – 5% alcohol. This is obviously a Euro-trash beer made in the cheap U.S. malt liquor style in Belgium for a London-based company (specializing in overseas football tours, perhaps?) Well, the can looks cool – black with a skull and crossbones. Serve cold, really cold.

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The Phred Kaufman Saga

This collection of essays came through my e-mail box this summer. Thought Brews News readers would be interested – Bryan

CONSTANT CARTELIZING IN THE JAPANESE ECONOMY
THE CASE OF MICROBREWS (jibiiru) IN SAPPORO

What follows is a first-hand account of market exclusion from our local beer meister, Phred Kaufmann, owner of a beer bar for over two decades called Mugishutei, and importer of hundreds of beers into the Sapporo community. His biggest project over the past several years was to bring over containers of microbrewery beers from the Portland, Oregon, vicinity (the microbrew capital of the world), bottle them under a different label for the Japanese market, and sell them to Hokkaido establishments as well as in his bar (I have seen his beers as far south as Oita, Kyushu). This was excellent timing, as recent market liberalization in Japan has finally allowed the sale of beer from small-volume brewers, offering Japanese for the first time far better variety (and taste) than the oligopolists (Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, and Suntory). Thus Japan, like the USA, is developing a taste for jibiiru, and the market shows great potential for ambitious entrepreneurs who have the supply and can meet demand.

That is, until provincial factors kick in to shut out the foreigners. Phred is now being excluded by local microbreweries from the biggest publicity event they have--stalls in the Sapporo Beer Garden. Held in August in Odori Koen for the past three decades, the Sapporo Beer Garden is big business, and only within the past couple of years has space been allocated not only to the oligopolists, but also to the little guys. This should be a great opportunity for all the Micros to share in, but a representative group decided to renege on verbal promises and shut Phred out.

This is no small suds. I went to the Beer Garden event last year and the volume sold is immense--most jibiir sell out by nine pm and people line up by the hundreds about an hour before the stalls even open (not to mention they sell really quite decent beer for about twice the price by volume than the oligopolists). And if Phred doesn't get in this year, he, lured by the promise of entry this year, stands to lose big on a huge volume of microbrew he has already purchased and will never fully sell.

But this is secondhand information. I'll turn the keyboard over to Phred and let him tell the story himself.

Dave Aldwinckle
Sapporo

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A sad story of a small business being screwed by the locals.
By Phred Kaufmann

This story starts about 5 years ago when I started to import microbrew made by Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon, under the Ezo Beer label. At the time I inquired about getting my beer into the Odori Summer Beer Festival International beer space [a space different from the Microbrew section, which offers Bud, Heineken, Coors, etc.--in the most inconvenient quadrant in the Beer Garden]. at 10 chome. This section of the event is run by the Sapporo Grand Hotel and Kanamaki, a liquor wholesaler. I was told by Kanamaki I should forget about it, as only the overseas oligopolistic beer companies participated. For the next three years I tried to enter but was put off by the participation fee of about two million yen.

Last year the Hokkaido Micro-brew Association had a space at 11 chome that was reasonably priced (way under two million yen). Last Sapporo Snow Festival, my beer was featured along with many others at a local hotel's Micro Beer Festival. It was well received by the customers.

After that I arranged a meeting with a Mr. Mizumoto, Owner of Mizumoto Construction, Ohotsuku Beer, and head of the Hokkaido Microbrew Association, for inclusion in the association and therefore the Odori Beer Garden. He showed some disapproval, wondering if I could be considered a "local" Hokkaido brewer, and indicated that as a non-member of the association anyway that participation in Odori would not be permitted. So I explained that my company as conceived in Sapporo, where I have resided for the past 21 years and that my main market was Sapporo. So even if I was not made a member of the Hokkaido Microbrew Association, it was a hardship and a slight to be excluded from a microbrew event held in a city park. I told him that even though I didn't expect to be included in the marketing campaigns or other Hokkaido venues, I just wanted to have equal treatment at Sapporo city events. I was told he would try.

After a month I called and was told that although I would be denied membership in the association I would be able to have a spot in Odori park. About a month ago, I heard Mizumoto was in town for the preparation meeting for the Odori Beer Garden. Wanting to know about preparation I called his office and cell phone several times, not to have any calls returned.

To this date I have not had any calls returned. I was to find out later that two of the twenty two members were opposed to my participation so I was denied the right to participate. This has happened after Mizumoto's promise, and I have bought 4 thousand liters of beer especially made for the festival that was currently seaborne.

Moreover, this is all despite 1999 being the fortieth year of the sister-city relationship between Portland and Sapporo, and Rogue Brewery being a member of the Portland Chamber of Commerce and the maker of this year's Official Portland Rose Festival Beer. It could have been a great sister-city event to have had my beer available. In sum, I am being excluded on unfair grounds, and stand to lose out big.

The U.S. Consul and International Communication Plaza [a city government organization] hearing of my plight tried to intervene for me. The micro-brew Association's response was to try and send me to 10 chome with the two million yen fee to participate with Miller, Carlsberg, Heineken etc. Ironically, all these beers are in fact made in Japan. So here I am with 4,000 liters of beer I imported just for the summer beer garden and nowhere for it to go.

I have decided to take my case to the citizens of Sapporo [and through Dave Aldwinckle, The Community]. Any PR or Ideas would be appreciated. My email address is below. We have the backing of The Hokkaido International Business Association as well, so others joining in with their support would be most helpful.

One silver lining is that after being asked by the U.S. Consulate, the Park Hotel and Sapporo Beer have graciously allowed me into their beer festival, so there are still some decent people in Hokkaido. The Park Hotel Beer Festival's sales, however, are small, and people don't go there to drink microbrews.

I still feel that an event held in a Sapporo City Park that excludes small Sapporo companies should not be permitted.

Where is Jetro when you need them?

Sincerely,
Phred Kaufmann (beer@voicenet.co.jp)
Mugishutei, Chuo-ku, Sapporo

But there’s more…

Subject: FREE BEER

I thought that would get your attention!

Free Beer SUNDAY AUG. 8TH Odori Park 11 chome under the Maypole. Details follow. Guess what no gimmick. I really mean it. As all of you should know by now I have been screwed by the Hokkaido Ji-Beer Association. I was led to believe I could participate in the Micro Brew area and ordered 4,000 liters of beer. It was decided that my beer was not made in Hokkaido and would be denied entry, after it had been made and loaded on the boat. I've decided to protest by giving away beer. Its a public park and I pay my taxes so why not? I will have several 60 liter kegs of Buckwheat ale... B.Y.O.S Bring your own snacks. This is not an official event of my company. Just a citizen sitting down in the park to have some beer with his friends. We did this on July 27th and a good time was had by all.

Phred Kaufman

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We look forward to your feedback, and your contributions to Brews News. If you're interested in being on our tasting team, please send us a note telling us why you want to join. Cheers, BRYAN HARRELL brewsnews @ bento.com

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Brews News copyright (c) Bryan Harrell and contributors.

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