Japanese Craft Beer Week!

3/22/2010: This week I will be drinking all craft beer straight form the Land of the Rising Sun. The beer was sent to me directly by Daniel @How to Japanese. I have always been interested in Japanese/Asian culture; martial arts (I’m a second degree black-belt in Tang Soo Do), sushi, their goofy TV shows, their cars (I used to have a sooped up Acura RSX, click here for a picture), and the list goes on. But I never knew that they had a craft beer scene at all, let alone a pretty good one. From what Dan tells me craft beer is really starting to boom in Japan.

A big thanks again to Dan as I am sure it was not cheap sending this to the states straight from Japan. I will really have to take good notes on these since there are two or three that aren’t even on beeradvocate.com. I put pasted a brief description (supplied by Dan) of each one of the beers below.

Yona Yona – Ao-oni IPA

This beer is fairly regularly available. I bought this one at a special grocery store about 15 minutes walk from my house. The other beers above I bought at a beer shop about half hour away by train. I guess this is a relatively reserved IPA by US standards, but very drinkable and just solid. The name means “Blue Demon.”

Baird Beer – Dark Sky Imperial Stout

The most “American” of the beers included. I think Baird’s been brewing it for a couple of years, but it’s still relatively new. It’s seasonal and not one of his regular lineup, which you can tell because of the bomber size. The regular lineup comes in 12oz bottles and not bombers.

Tamamura Honten – Takashi Imperial Stout

This is made by the same company as the Shiga Kogen lineup of beers. I like the Shiga Kogen IPA as well as the Miyama Blonde but included this because you’re a stout fan. I’ve had this beer only once and it was a while back, so I can’t say anything specific about it. Hopefully a decent beer.

Fujizakura – Chocolate Wheat

I wanted to send one of Fujizakura’s Rauchbiers. Either the regular Rauch or the Rauchbock, but they were out when I went to the store. Fujizakura makes an excellent lineup of German beers, all of which are really solid, so this beer should be decent if nothing else. One of my top 2-3 favorite breweries in Japan. It’s also an example of how Japan likes to do “chocolate” themed stuff for Valentine’s Day. Limited edition and pretty rare I’d say, even in Japan.

Sapporo – Chocolat Brewery

ROYCE is a famous chocolate company up in Hokkaido, which is where Sapporo is based. This beer is a travesty, but I include it to show you how easily duped the consumers are here. Most of the breweries in Japan have a normal 100% malt beer that is very decent and drinkable – just a basic lager. Then they have a cheaper “happoshu,” which isn’t technically beer by Japanese legal standards…more like a light beer or a malt liquor, but a lager just the same. Then they have these silly special edition beers. This one includes “cocoa nibs.” It’s regularly available at most grocery stores and convenience stores, but will probably disappear after Valentine’s Day.

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm  Comments (17)  
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100 beers down, 265+ to go!

So 100 beers in, almost a third of the way through my journey. So far this has been an amazing experience. I came up with this idea on a whim because honestly, I get bored with hobbies very easily. I have always been into trying new beer, but never took it as seriously as I do now even though I still consider myself an amateur beer drinker on the grand scale of things. Believe it or not my life has changed greatly since making this website.

Since starting this site I have been sampling some world class beer, getting deals to redesign beer related websites, pushing my personal beer style limits, gained almost 10lbs, and am meeting some very cool people along the way. It really amazes me how gracious and friendly “beer nerds” are. Whether its Phill the owner of Vintage Estate sharing his last Surly Furious he got from a friend in MN with me, Mike/Ruth sending me a Westy 12, Jared sending me one of his last Imperial Stout Troopers, or Roscoe helping guide me through my Michigan Brewery tour, it has all amazed me. I have had people send me free beer from all corners of the country to review, and I even have Dan sending me some craft beer from Japan. I am averaging almost 200 hits a day now and never expected to get more than 20 a day.

As many of you would agree trying new beer is fun, but sharing your experience with other beer lovers is really what its all about. Not to get all mushy but seriously thanks so much for reading, and please continue commenting on my posts as it gives me motivation to keep this site running. Besides it would be boring for me to update this website without anyone reading. On that note if you are in driving distance of Boardman, Ohio, you should come out and have a beer with me at The Big Tap In on April 24th. Just go to the site (that I designed wooo) and check out the list of breweries attending, and that should be enough convincing. It is all for a good cause too. Sidenote: I would also like to thank my girlfriend Cara for being supportive through all of this, and even starting to like almost as many beers as I do! Not often you find a chick who likes good beer.

So now go ahead and crack open a beer and let me know what it is, and how it is! Cheers!

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm  Comments (12)  
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Captured all 4 Aged Yeti’s… Now what?

Click HERE for full size

Any stout lover surely has tried the regular Great Divide Yeti as I have, but I have not yet tried ANY of the Barrel Aged Yeti’s. I managed to somehow round up all four of these supposed mythical Sasquatch beers. Had to travel to places way outside of Pennsylvania to find these beasts. Now the question is, how to drink them? Obviously I can’t drink all of these myself in one night, but would you do all 4 in one night with a few friends? One a night for four nights? If so in what order? Try the regular yeti first then move on up? What would you do if you had all four? Give me some feedback in the comments below people!

Sidenote, Does anyone know what the 2005 vs 2009 label looks like for the chocolate yeti? Jared from BA bought this for me and told me the guy at the store claimed it was an 05, but the 5 can kind of looks like a 9 to me.. What do you think?

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 11:25 pm  Comments (15)  
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2 Days, 7 brewpubs, 1000+ miles, and still not enough beer!

Glasses each representing the brewpubs/taprooms I made it to (hopcat is missing)

Ok so I am warning everyone ahead of time this might be the longest beer post ever. If you dare click “more…” below to read what went down on my beer marathon; complete with pictures.


Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 11:24 am  Comments (21)  
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Random Post – Happy New Year and Who Are You?!

So overall I am very surprised to the response I have been getting to this blog. At first I was apprehensive about doing this but am glad I did. I am averaging over 100 views a day, but the question is… Who are you? where are you from, how did you find my blog, and what would you like to see me do differently in 2010 with my site? I want to hear your feedback. Don’t be bashful to post your thoughts in the comments section as I read and reply to every single one. And if you haven’t yet, click the subscription button on the right column of the page to get daily updated sent to your email.

Personally I am starting off 2010 by doing a little brewery tour with the girlfriend. I know most of the breweries might be closed today, but I am getting a little bit of cabin fever. Going to start off by heading to NW PA towards Erie, then through northern Ohio, and into southern Michigan. If we have time we might try to end the trip in Chicago at Goose Island. Below is a list in order of what we will be passing, I know we wont be able to get them all but I’m going to try!

Southern Tier
Thirsty Dog
Hoppin Frog
Great Lakes
Maumee Bay Brewing
Fort Street Brewery
Jolly Pumpkin
Dark Horse
New Holland
Saugatuck Brewing
The Livery
Three Floyds
Goose Island
Two Brothers

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm  Comments (27)  

Random Post – My latest beer haul from Vintage Estate

I purchased most of this beer from Vintage Estate, and let me start off by saying it is a beer lovers MECCA. The owner (Phil) and staff (Bob and others) are unbelievably friendly and helpful. This place is only about a 45 minute drive for me, but I would probably drive up to 3 hours to stock up. This place is THAT good. They have almost 700 different FRESH and some hard to find bottles, all at prices that are just amazing. Most of the beers are under $2. They also have a ton of wine, and carry about a dozen different types of meads. Meads are fermented just like beer, but with honey. If you live anywhere even close to Boardman Ohio, you must go here. You can easily make a day of it.

The other bottles I purchased from 3 Sons dogs and suds in Wexford, PA. In my opinion its probably the best 6 pack shop in Pittsburgh, but unfortunately their prices and selection cannot compete with Vintage. This is mostly because PA Beer laws are almost criminal. They tax the crap out of beer and make it pretty hard for anyone to run a real bottleshop around here. The guy who runs the shop is a little bit cranky at first, but he will warm up to you once he gets to know you.

Anyways onto the beer. Why is it that breweries stop releasing their seasonal beers way too early in the “season.” I wanted to pick up a bunch of winter warmers and Christmas beers but they are sold out almost EVERYWHERE. Regardless I made some pretty decent pickups. The front row will be sent off next week on a trade, but the rest I will be drinking over the next couple months. Unibroue Terrible, Delirium Noel, some Speedway Stout to age for awhile, etc etc.

See a beer you recognize and have a dislike/like for it? Let me know in the comments section below.

Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm  Comments (11)