Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Shhh I'm a member of a secret society. No not the Freemasons or Skull and Bones or the Illuminati....The Beer in Japan Forum!! And it's by invitation only, so you probably can't join. Unless you show me the secret handshake. Or just ask HBJ. Either way I'm good.
Off to the forum beerman....
Holy cow Bobin
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday night was a quiet one. Just had an Yebisu (6.5/10). Had to try it after all the bashing it has been getting recently. And guess what? It's a good beer. Nice full body. I enjoyed it and would drink again in a heartbeat If offered.
I was waiting in McDonalds with a McFlurry for my friend to call. They did, but to cancel our plans, so I decided to drink the Firestone (8.5/10) in the Maccy Ds. Haha. It was good. Really hoppy and sweet without being over the top. Would try it again, but at 1500 yen a bottle, It's pushing it a bit. The Mcflurry was awesome too. Oreo, If you really need to know.
After a bomber of that I headed to Akihabara to visit a maid cafe. I had never been to one and since I'm leaving thought I better cross it off my list. Well it wasn't quite what Iexpected. The maids only smiled and 'Genked' it up when they had to. When I tried to take a photo they nearly jumped on me yelling 'No photo!!'. I drunk my 600 yen coffee, chatted to some young ladies there, then hightailed it to Popeyes.
Popeyes is an institution. The best selection of beer in Japan. 70 plus taps. The staff are great, particularly Aoki san, the affable owner. The beer quality and serving quality are not always amazing, but never bad. On this evening I downed a Yona Yona Real Ale, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Ozenoyukidoke IPA, Yo Ho Barley Wine and a small Divine Vamp, the House Beer. Good times. As this was my last visit Aoki san graciously presented me with a Popeye's mug and magazine. I will always have fond memories of this place and will be back with bells on If I ever come back to Japan.
I then made my way to Aldgate for a Rogue Double Dead Guy. Unfortunately It was finished, so I had a Preston IPA, Aldgate ale (Swan Lake Amber) and a Erdinger Weiss. The boys (ie Capa, Chuwy, HBJ and TimE) showed up for a bit, but by then I was 3 sheets to the proverbial wind so after a bit of drunk banter I took my drunk ass home for some kip.
Sunday was a reasonably early start, as I went bowling with my co workers. It was fun time, but I really need to practice. I sucked! Although in my defence, I haven't bowled in at least two years. After a few games we went for lunch at an all you can eat bread place. I ate about 20 pieces of bread and a salad. Just a small meal. We then took some print club and played some games at the arcade. Man those places swallow your loose change so fast.
After that, I invited my co workers around for a drink at my place. I drunk the Hop Stoopid (8.5/10) and Torpedo (7.5/10) as well as a few Westys (look at the great pouring shots taken by my co worker above). Good times and interesting conversation. After walking these retrobates back to the station it was time for bed. Back to work next morning, where i find myself writing this, during my lunch break on a balmy Summer day. Atsui, ne!?
Hopstar 88 yen beer - sound appetizing? no thanks....
I don't know If this was the name of the shop, but it gave me a chuckle.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Haven't done a list for a while, so here goes...
Top 10 best songs ever (off the top of my head)
1. Electric Dreams - Giorgio Moroder (hey I'm an 80s child!)
2. Alive - Pearl Jam (My teenage song)
3. No Surprises - Radiohead
4. Float on - Modest Mouse
5. Get your Walk on - Xzibit
6. I'm Broken - Pantera
7.Perfect Day - Lou Reed
8. Slow Show - The National
9. Maybe I'll Catch Fire - Alkaline Trio
10. That techno song I used to listen to whose name escapes me right now
How about you?
Monday, July 6, 2009
Friday night involved hoping on a bullet train to Tokyo to meet Tim and his mates for a special beer tasting. After having a Whiskey barrel Iwate Kura IPA at Bulldog, we went and found a very urban, chic environment (ie under the train tracks) to try Mikkeller Beer Geek Weasel (made with civet coffee - most expensive in the World) and Deschutes the Abyss (aged in French Oak and Bourbon Barrels).
Two huge, black 11% Imperial Stouts they were both sublime, as we watched (and cajouled) the nightlife walking by. The winner for me was the Abyss (9/10), just because of the huge complexity, though the weasel (8.5/10) was no slouch. Anyone that knows me knows I love a big, black imperial - so I was very happy. Company was good too. Cheers for sharing Tim! Back on the train for last trains to Yokohama, then home. PHEW safe!
Which brings us to Saturday. I decided to head to Motomachi to buy some shoes (a steal at 6000 yen down from 16000 yen), before walking through Chinatown and along Yasmashita pier to the Red Brick Warehouses for the Y150 celabrations. If you don't already know, it is 150 years since the Black Ships of Commodore Perry shimmied their way in to Yokohama, opening up trade with the outside world for the first time in centuries (except for with the dutch I believe). Here is a replica of said ships.
Anyway, enough with the history lesson. They have an exposition type event at the port, which I wanted to see. First problem was the entrance fee - 2400 yen! Over thirty Australian dollars. Next it was all in Japanese and finally it was a waste of time. The exhibits were bland and lifeless. There was an Anime especially made for the event, though it was all in Japanese and the quality of the anmation wasn't that great. The big robot spider thingy from Paris was interesting, but only a few hundred yen interesting. Get where I'm going with this??
Anyway Toyota had a pavillion which amounted to the World's biggest TV showing a ten minute movie on Japan and lots of advertising for it's green awareness cars. Woo hoo. Finally there was a big 20m in Diameter balloon that displayed images at night, which wasn't as fascinating as it sounded. All in all I felt done. Royally. Well the best I can offer is to warn others not to waste their money, particularly as the Spider can be seen from a nearby pedestrian overpass anyway. Oh for shame Yokohama. It wasn't crowded and you could see why. The number one rule of business is to get repeat custom, but there is no chance with the shite on display. Ahem, moving on.
In fairness, my day did get a lot better. I decided to head to Yokohama Brewery (which I had never visited!) where I met up with Chris 'chief running mouth talkalota' Chuwy. We had a really good pint (600mls actually) of Green Fresh, their big unfiltered IPA. Then it was a quick, gassy dash (I drunk my beer too quickly) to craft beer bar to meet up with Homebrewjapan and his missus. A real affable chap, he bought some of the brews he had been perfecting recently, as witnessed on his blog. But not before I got a pint of Shiga Kogen IPA in, from my favourite brewer.
We made our way down the pier, which was lovely and cool in the evening, with a lovely sea breeze. Very romantic if I weren't with a welsh talking machine and a couple. Homebrewjapan then whipped out the big guns (oh my!). We tried his great homebrew and I must say he shows great potential. For a full run down see here, for HBJ's write up, and here for Chris' two pints worth. I thought his pilsner and hitachino nest IPA were the pick of the bunch, but there were no bad beers. I think they might have suffered from carbonation issues, but that was explained by homebrew. Apparently forced carbonation was used over traditional methods (that's what I was going to say, but he explainrd before I had the chance ;P).
Chuwy then whipped out his big gun...luckily it was a bottle of HaandBryggeriet dark force (8/10) and not his long suffering willy. It was delicious. A big, black wheat (?!) imperial stout. Boozy and long. Cheers Chris, it was a nice surprise. We then made a run to Yokohama for a Thrash, but for some reason it was closed (We would find out later Koichi had a cold). So we made our way to cheers. Haven't been there for ages, as this focus is on Belgian beers, which I haven't been a fan of recently and it is a little costly, compared to Thrash.
We ordered four glasses of St. Bernardus 12, which is a great beer, though just a bit too sweet for me on the night. Great as it was, it was time to down it quickly and dash for the station for the last train again. Whew thanks Chris and Homebrewjapan for a pleasant evening, after a lackluster day. Let's do it again before I leave!
(Above two photos: My second hometown. Always in my heart.)
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Met up with the Japanese beer blog fashionista for several pints down the original baird taproom in Numazu. Chuwy, Capa, Nate and DH and of course TimE downed a few as well as made quite a mess shelling peanuts. Bloggers, Ratebeerians and Tweeters alike drank their ambrosia and immersed themselves in increasing hazy and innuendo centered conversation. Head brewer Chris came down later and joined us for a few too. Top guy. Things started to get a bit hazy, but not before Nate poped out some of his IPA and Imperial Stout homebrew (great job on both!) and Tim pulled out a bottle of Barrel aged Imperial Porter from Full Sail. Like Wow! Cheers gents.
More drinking and fun and games in to the night, last trains home and through a series of fortunate events caught the last train on my local line (don't ask me how - I couldn't tell you). Special thanks to Chuwy for making sure I got the right train!
Now Numazu wouldn't be my first choice for a trip again (Much more commercial than I expected) but it was good to get all these beer heads together at a decent brewery. I'm not going to lie and say Baird is my favourite brewer, but they make some decent beer. Now if only they turned decent into great. Maybe Chris is the guy to do it...A good weekend trip, even if it taxed the old wallet a bit!
From memory I had the Numazu Lager, Shimuguni Stout (surprise of the day!), Rainy Season black ale (disappointment of the day), Red Rose Amber, DIPA, Morning Coffee Stout (Fantastic - highly recommended) and Tekioku(?) IPA. Not too bad....