If it seems like I write about Ise Kadoya a lot -- more than any other topic so far -- that's because their brewpub is a one minute walk from my front door.
This company represents my first contact with Japanese craft beer. And thankfully, twice a month, they bring in guest beers that share space on a special all-you-can-drink menu.
First, to appease wary locals afraid to try new things, the menu always features Suntory's The Premium Malts and an Ebisu. Other staples are Ise Kadoya's four main brews: Shinto Beer, Brown Ale, Stout, and Pale Ale. Occasionally, as with last night, one spot is given to an Ise Kadoya seasonal. This month it has been their Imperial Wheat Ale, which is a bit too light and sweet for my taste.
That leaves three slots for guest beers.
I usually start with a glass of the most suspicious entry. Last night this was a Grapefruit Ale from Chiba's Harvest Moon. Nothing to sing about here. The tasting notes point out that it is "easy to drink," code for "beer for people who don't like beer." Let's move along.
Next, from what the sheet lists as a company called Preston Ale, came a very nice pale ale. While good, it didn't stand up to a side-by-side battle with Ise Kadoya's new pale ale, which had a fuller flavor and more bitterness.
The third guest beer did not disappoint. We were able to gleam that it came from Nagano, but we couldn't read the kanji listing the company name. I asked at the bar, and upon hearing Shiga Kogen I was excited. The entry was their Wheat Ale, which we decided was smooth and bitter. Listed as an American style ale, it brought back feelings of nostalgia for the taps back in Portland.
And with that, the special beer menu is complete. With any remaining nomihoudai time, you can head back to the bar to grab a glass or two of your favorites. I had a Shiga Kogen Wheat Ale and an Ise Kadoya (new) Pale Ale to round out the evening.
A month will pass before the next round of Ise Kadoya events. If you ever find yourself in Ise on the second or third Wednesday of any given month, hit me up -- or simply show up at Biyagura -- and let's have a few drinks.