The 20-something bar-family daughter was driving us to a mutual friend's house for a party when the subject of craft beer came up.
She had picked me up in the parking lot of Ise Kadoya's brewpub, Biyagura, where I had just bought two bottles of their limited release Common Beer to take to the party.
After hearing what I had bought, she immediately asked if I had ever tried locally-made beer.
"Well, yes, every time we go for the all-you-can-drink at Biyagura, it's local beer made by Ise Kadoya and other brewers."
Local beer, she surmised, is "mazui," Japanese for gross or bad-tasting.
Disturbed, I tried to explain that among the many kinds of beers made by hundreds of local breweries all over Japan, of course there were hits and misses. Most of Ise Kadoya's stuff, I said, was actually pretty good. And there is good stuff all over the country.
It didn't register. She likes Asahi Super Dry. That's beer. The local stuff, ji-beer, doesn't rate.
Her feelings on craft beer are frighteningly common here in Japan. And it's that prevailing thought-process that has inspired me to start this blog.
Further inspiration goes to the guys from Good Beer and Country Boys. When I found that blog upon arriving in Japan, I started to get excited about local beer and made it my mission to scout for the good stuff whenever I was traveling. I am not trying to copy what they were/are doing (now from back in the states), but the underlying theme is the same.
That is: I want to find and highlight good beer here in Japan, telling the stories of those who make it, enjoy it and promote it. Meanwhile, I want to celebrate the culture and lifestyle of good beer here and around the world.
I face certain limitations, be it imperfect Japanese and a paltry travel budget. But when I do get out and about, I will be on the hunt for ji-beer. Meanwhile, from home here in Mie, I will do what I can ... like converting skeptical locals who think the good stuff is bad.