Brews News #91
Brews News #91 - March/April 2009
All articles by Bryan Harrell unless noted.
Delirium Cafe Reserve First Anniversary on May 5th
This glittering Belgian beer cafe burst upon the scene in Akasaka a year ago, and was soon joined by Antwerp Port, an outpost of Antwerp Central, bringing the total of Belgian beer bars in Akasaka to four, after the venerable Bois Cereste the lovely Chez Mikawa, a French restaurant with an extensive Belgian beer menu.
The Anniversary party will be held in conjunction with Belg Aube, with seven kegs of beer imported and tapped for the event. At Delirium Cafe Reserve, in Akasaka Sakas, a special reception will take place from 6pm on May 5th, followed by a short party from 9 to 10 pm. Admission for the event is 5,000 yen, and all food and drink will be included. From 10pm, they will remain open for business as usual. For details and reservations, phone or fax 03-5545-7730. http://www.deliriumcafe.jp/
New DeKonnick Beers meet Japanese Spring Vegetables on May 11th
The "ni-sui-kai" is a monthly Belgian beer and food event at Bois Cereste which always comes up with something new while following the seasons. Held on the 2nd Wednesday (ni-sui) of each month, the event attracts a small number of hard-core Belgian beer fans, with the 7,500 yen admission including all food and beer, usually including some last-minute additions by the ever-enthusiastic proprietor Yamada-san.
In March, new spring vegetables will be introduced in various dishes, along with new beers from the DeKonnick brewery. The meal starts at 7pm, and reservations are required; phone 03-3588-6292. For details on Bois Cereste, along with a map, see http://bento.com/rev/0818.html
Grande Biere in Tokyo Midtown March 14-15
This is a new style beer tasting event held by Grande Biere Committee in conjunction with the Japan Craft Beer Association (JCBA), sponsor of the annual Japan Beer Festivals in Ebisu (June), Osaka (July) and Yokohama (September). The event will be held at Tokyo Midtown Hall, between Roppongi and Nogizaka stations, and will offer unlimited 50 ml samples of over 60 varieties of beer from over 30 small Japanese and U.S. brewers. Event hours are 14:00 to 17:30 on March 14, and from 11:30 to 15:00 on March 15.
The tentative list of brands to be served includes Fujizakura Kogen, Gotemba Kogen, Harvest Moon, Hitachino Nest, Kinshachi, Nasu Kogen, Sankt Gallen, Yokohama Beer, Yona Yona Ale, as well as Green Flash, Kona Beer, Speakeasy and Stone from the U.S. Food will also be available at the event. Advance tickets are 5,000 yen (5,500 at the door) and are available from the JCBA, as well as Family Mart, Lawson and Sunkus convenience stores. For more details, see http://www.beertaster.org/english_gb/date.htm.
BEERS Meeting on Tuesday March 17th
The Beer Enjoyment, Education and Research Society (BEERS) will meet from 8 pm on March 17th at Pangaea in Senzoku. The date is probably the most famous beer drinking day in the world - St. Patrick's Day. The day is typically celebrated at faux Irish pubs all over the world, with people dressed in green, getting very drunk and drinking disgusting green beer. On the other hand, BEERS will take a more tempered approach to the day, with the theme of "Stout: its origins and transformation."
If you are so inclined, please wear green, though note that NO GREEN BEER will be served. See the Pangaea site at http://www1.cts.ne.jp/~pangaea/top.html. There will be five stouts on tap and one other ale. There may also be some special bottles. Please sign-up by Friday March 13th by writing to leader Tim Eustace at tokyobeers "at" yahoo "dot" co "dot" jp
German Beer & Food Fest at Sea Castle in Kamakura on March 20th
Sea Castle is a German restaurant open since 1957, operating under the slogan "Sea Castle ist der Platz, fur gutes Essen un Trinken." Located a short walk from either Yuigahama or Hase stations on the colorful Enoshima line, they will be having a beer and food fest on March 20, with a limited number of seats available. The cost is 8,000 yen for all-you-can-drink beer and food, with live German music for entertainment. For information and reservations, phone 0467-25-4335. http://www.shonanportsite.jp/seacastle/seacastle.htm
Gotemba Golf Club and Belle View Nagao Golf Club have teamed up with Gotemba Kogen Resort and Brewery to offer a great day trip from Tokyo featuring 18 holes of golf, along with a buffet dinner and all the brew you can drink (five beers on tap) at Gotemba Kogen Beer at the foot of Mt. Fuji. All this for just 15,000 yen per person (minimum 3 players) on weekdays or 23,000 yen on weekends. This remarkable offer is the work of Bennett J. Galloway, resident golf expert at both golf clubs. Have Bennett send you the tempting PDF file with all the details; contact him directly at 090-8475-4512 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Strong Ale Week at Qbrick and Beer Belly
|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.|
|We recommend that you avoid this product.|
This month we balance three heavy beers with three light beers. Two of the heavy ones have been aged, which smooths out the rough edges and mellows down the sweetness and bitterness, allowing the elusive "middle" flavors to emerge. Three are beers featuring wheat malt, with each of them expressing an entirely different take on what wheat can do. While these beers are available at many places around town, the best place to look for them is at Tanakaya in Mejiro (03-3953-8888), which consistently has the most complete stock.
Chimay Blue 2006 (Belgium, Trappist, barley and wheat malts, sugars, hops, yeast; 9% abv). Deep hazy mahogany brown, mnimal aroma of dried fruit and hard candy, very very smooth with balance created by interplay of malt sweetness, acidity and subdued hop bitterness. This seems about the perfect amount of aging for this beer.
Bear Republic Red Rocket (California U.S.A., barley malt, hops, yeast; 7% abv) Stunning reddish monster self-styled as a "bastardized Scottish style red ale." Huge malt, off-the-meter west-coast hopping levels, and tons of flavor. It's a good package; let's give it a few years of aging and see what happens.
Baird West Coast Wheat Wine 2007 (Shizuoka, wheat and barley malts, sugars, hops and yeast; about 9% abv) The softening of the hop impact with age has left this a very sweet beer with a strong tang, and it seems to have a lot in common with icewine. It didn't work too well with typical salty or crunch beer snacks, but was heavenly when paired with bitter chocolate. To paraphrase a popular title, "Like wheat for chocolate?"
Yebisu Silk (from Sapporo Beer, wheat and barley malt, hops, yeast; 5.5% abv) This is the latest in a growing line of Yebisu Variations, with an emphasis on the creamy smoothness possible with wheat malt. Yes, it is creamy, but has the characteristic Yebisu hop bite and a slightly elevated alcohol level.
Gotemba Kogen Weizen (Shizuoka, wheat and barley malts, hops, yeast; 5.5% abv) Quite a good execution of an "ordinary" weizen, with no surprises in its sturdy, well-structured body. Slightly higher alcohol contributes to forward aromas often described as banana, clove or chewing gum. Good balance all around, with no weird edges.
Gotemba Kogen Pils (Shizuoka, barley malt, hops, yeast; 5.5% abv) This is a typical Japanese lager, but with an edge on quality and drinkability. Good malt body and flavor, but still not heavy like many German pils despite containing no rice, starch or other nonsense. It would be good to put this in a blind tasting with Asahi Super Dry and see which one is chosen by the Asahi fans.
By Gary Bremermann
As part of my support of Room to Read's
The basic idea is this: You approach your favorite bar/restaurant and ask if they'd be willing to host a B4B night. You spread the word about the event and gather all your friends and go there to have a good time. The bar/restaurant will take 100 yen from every beer (or all drinks if they agree) sold and donate it to Room to Read. One beer = 100 yen = 1 local-language book for a child in countries where Room to Read operates (Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Zambia, etc.). Simple, right?
Rusty at Sam & Dave kindly offered to host the first event on February 26, which was a kick-off and introduction to the Beer for Books concept. Andrew of Nagano Trading (http://www.naganotrading.com/category/products/beer/) brought some really tasty craft beers from California microbreweries, while Adam of Zubrowka Vodka (www.zubrowka.jp) mixed up some special Bison 4 Books cocktails too.
Future Beers for Books meetings will be announced in Brews News, but don't wait for one to be listed, plan one of your own. I encourage you to think of your favorite bar that might be interested in supporting a B4B event, especially somewhere outside of Tokyo. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun, so feel free to spread the word. Hope to see you there!
Contact Gary Bremermann at Robert Leonard Consulting Ltd. (firstname.lastname@example.org) phone 03-5363-5894 or 090-2469-3700
For details on these events, contact the Japan Craft Beer Association, www.beertaster.org
March 13-15 Grand Biere festival at Roppongi Mid-town
June 6 - 7 Japan Beer Festival in Ebisu Garden Place, Tokyo
July 18 - 20 Japan Beer Festival in Osaka
September 19 - 21 Japan Beer Festival in Yokohama
Special thanks to Gary Bremermann for his Beers for Books idea, and Nevitt Reagan for his brilliant Osaka contribution to this issue. We'd love your contribution, too, so send your story ideas (or story) to brewsnews "at" yahoo.com Deadline for the next issue is Friday, March 27th.