Brews News #93
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Brews News #93 - June/July 2009
All articles by Bryan Harrell unless noted.

Beer Here

Beer Lovers Club at Bois Cereste

Saturday, May 30 from 5 to 9 p.m.
3,500 yen admission

This is a great event that happens at Bois Cereste only four times a year. The 3,500 yen admission gets you ten tickets. Most Belgian beers are just two tickets, and tickets can also be used for food items. It only takes a little calculation to figure out that this makes everything at Bois Cereste remarkably cheap for one of the nicest places to have a beer in Tokyo. For a map and more information on Bois Cereste, go to

Style Selection Festival at Popeye

Sunday, June 21 from 1 p.m.
5,000 yen admission

Various pale ale and IPA varieties from small breweries around Japan will be featured at this event, which will also offer Popeye-only specials such as the "Hop Heart" hop-charged beers. Popeye is also introducing creative French-influenced foods for this event. It is limited to fifty people, so get your tickets in advance now. For information on Popeye and a map, go to

Beer There

Japan Craft Beer Selection

This new event first held on April 26th by a new "beer support NPO" gathered some 112 beers for judging by over 100 enthusiasts. Top scorers in each category were as follows

Light Lager - Baird Cool Breeze Pils
Light Ale - Yona Yona Ale
Dark Lager - Liebe by Shonan Beer
White/Wheat Beer - Weizen by Ginga Kogen
Dark Ale - Brown Ale by Isekadoya
India Pale Ale - Ozeno IPA
Strong Ale - Abbey Tripel by Atsugi Beer
Porter/Stout - Swan Lake Porter
Barleywine - Swan Lake Barleywine
Special (Fruit) - Baird Mikan Ale
Special (Other) - Fujizakura Rauchbock

For a complete list (in Japanese) go to

Bar Beat

Beer Meets Bruschetta at Brusca

Here's a nice twist for a place with a good beer selection. Brusca is a relatively new beer bar in Kagurazaka featuring about 50 different kinds of brew, with six on tap.

What sets Brusca apart, though, is the terrific selection of bruschetta and other casual Italian dishes. These are the creation of owner Stefano Fastro from the Veneto region of Italy. Best known for his Ristorante Stefano just down the street from Brusca, Stefano has taken pains to ensure a good beer selection. About 20 are from Belgium, and 10 from England, joined by an interesting array of others from around the world.

But the attraction here is the bruschetta - feather-light toast with a variety of cheese, meat and vegetable toppings. One of my favorites is delightfully simple, centering on thinly sliced artichoke hearts and layers of very tender roast pork called porchetta - don't miss it. On a recent visit, the luscious Westmalle Tripel heavy golden ale was discounted to 990 yen, making the visit entirely worthwhile.

Brusca -- Beer & Bruschetta
Hosoya Bldg. 2F, 107 Yaraicho, Shinjuku-ku. 03-6457-5788
Closed Mondays / Live music on Thursdays
11:30 - 14:30 Lunch
18:00 - 24:00 Dinner
Great pictures:

Six Pick

on vacation this issue.

Beer Talk

Kirin's 100% Malt Upgrade

I recently came back from a two-month stay in San Francisco and was surprised to see that the ubiquitous Kirin Ichiban Shibori has become an all-malt beer. To be honest, it doesn't taste a whole lot different, but the fact that Kirin "upgraded" this popular seller tells me that there just may be a segment of the market that cares about having beer made with 100% malt.

From the huge number of happo-shu and other beer-like products on the market, one certainly gets the impression there is widespread malt-phobia in Japan, with consumers offered a wide array of choices to avoid malt flavor altogether in their drinking.

Nevertheless, Kirin's change of Ichiban Shibori into an all-malt product puts them in line with Sapporo and Suntory with mainstay products based on an all-malt recipe, as represented by Sapporo's commendable and growing Yebisu line of beers and Suntory's Malt's beers. In any case, let's see if Asahi makes any move to join the all-malt parade this year.


Kura-Kura Moves to Kanda

Pioneering craft brew bar Kura Kura will celebrate ten years in Shimo-Kitazawa with a move to Kanda. The location will be a one-minute walk from the south exit. Please note the new address, as of mid-June:

Ji-beer House Kura Kura
Tokyo Kanda Bldg. 3F
1-4-6 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku

2009 JCBA Festival Round-Up

For details on these events, contact the Japan Craft Beer Association,

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

Nihon Oktoberfest Schedule

Of course they are not in October (except for perhaps the best one, in Yokohama) but still they are fun to join with friends and hoist a few beers together. Most all events also offer some Japanese craft beers at prices lower than the German imports, so make sure you try a few if available.

The links below do not have specific information for all events yet, but check back a few weeks beforehand for details.

May 22 - 31 Tokyo Hibiya Park
June 10 - 14 Sendai
August 5 - 9 Joetsu Region
September 18 - 27 Sendai
October 9 - 18 Yokohama Akarenga Soko

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