Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Post Irish day, an English IPA

I've been busy of late working on the launch of Mie Life Magazine, a free, online-only (for now) general interest magazine for this little prefecture I call home. Since the operation has nearly no money to spend, we're relying on volunteers. So far, a few people have been helping out a lot but we're looking to add several more people as we prepare to get going.

The magazine will be at the url (for now it's just a parked domain). I'll update here on the blog when it's ready to roll. Naturally, besides generally editing the thing, I'll be writing about beer. I'm planning a monthly column on craft beer plus I'll try to spotlight the craft beer scene in Mie in larger features.


Back to the beer.

This weekend featured Ise's annual St. Patrick's Day party, which happens every year in early March. It's part of a series of St. Patrick's Day events and parades around Japan. Ise's naturally, is pretty small, but it draws a decent crowd and this year that crowd included Ireland's ambassador to Japan, who made a speech and took part in the day's festivities.

I was along for the ride too, mostly taking photos but also chatting with people about beer and the magazine project and all kind of things. A few of us skipped the official after party and headed for the beer bar, where were had a couple of beers to add to the decently large total of parade beers (not many were drinking ... me, a crew of Irish guys, plus a few older guys).

Overall, the weekend left me feeling a bit ill. Too much Irish fun, perhaps.

But with Wednesday comes my first beer of the week, part of the recovery. And the bonus: These beers come from beyond my reach in Mie. They are omiyage from Yokohama, one being an English style IPA from Yokohama Brewery and the other being an Aooni English style IPA from Yaho Brewing (maker's of the more widely available Yona Yona Ale).

At the moment, I've cracked open the Aooni, which is a nice, subdued IPA. Much like when I tried the Tokyo Black at Keg Nagoya, I can trace the mainstay Yona Yona in the background, but the bitterness comes through nicely.

I'll save the Yokohama IPA for another time (read: in about 10 minutes).

Cheers to all ... and I hope your late winter / early spring transition treats you nicely.