Monday, July 19, 2010

Hunting for IPA at the Great Japan Beer Festival

At half passed four, we walked to the station in front of the Kyocera Dome along with dejected fans of the Orix Buffaloes, who had just taken a 9-2 beating courtesy of the Softbank Hawks.

We were in a decidedly better mood, having just descended from the Sky Hall, high in the Dome's upper quarters, where Day 2 of the Great Japan Beer Festival was winding down.

Besides the buzz from a day of sampling craft beers, we also could hold our heads high knowing that on Monday evening, we would take in a Hanshin Tigers game. The Tigers, in second place in the Central League just behind the powerhouse Giants, were in a much better position to come out ahead over the slumping Carp of Hiroshima.

Back upstairs, in the curving Sky Hall, beer enthusiasts of all stripes were finishing the day, some in better shape than others. Security staff in orange shirts kept the peace by making sure people did not sit -- or even squat -- on the floor. Tap operators in Official Orange Shirts were either lonely or busy, since at the late hour of the event most people had identified winners and losers and were heading for one last sip of their favorite.

Not that you could reasonably expect to have tried every beer available in one day. With well over 100 choices, we decided early to approach with caution and some level of discrimination. We tried some fruity stuff, but I quickly scanned for IPAs. Then we started finding brands we knew, including some from back home. Then, we found the Minoh taps. Until yesterday, I had only heard of Minoh, an Osaka-based brewery. The Minnoh menu included a Weizen, a Pale Ale, a Stout, a Real Ale Coffee Stout, a Real Ale Lucky 13 IPA, and a potato beer called "Spud Suds." All were pretty good, but of course I'm a sucker for IPA.

(since it is almost time to head toward Koshien for the Tigers game.)

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