Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm still here -- and random beer discoveries

My most recent post was on March 9, two days before the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami brought devastation to Tohoku. For a while after, I was quiet on Twitter, and for longer, I've been quiet here on this blog. I cannot claim that I posted so often before, but for a while I simply did not feel like coming on and talking about my most recent beer samplings or the newest Ise Kadoya release.

That's not to say I did not drink. My school's new-school-year-staff-change party went down as scheduled, with plenty of beer going around. I've been frequenting Twelve, the makeshift craft beer hangout opened by Masaya from Ise Kadoya in what used to be his first-floor living room. And from time to time I've visited Ise Kadoya for the 2-hour nomihoudai for less than 2,000 yen.

Meanwhile, I have launched Mie Life Magazine, an online only bilingual magazine for Mie prefecture. It has been fun, but also incredibly challenging, as it has been an all-volunteer operation. I have not had much luck finding contributors to write, and if it is only me and one or two others then I feel it lacks a range of voices required to make it interesting. Further, I need Japanese writers contributing, but so far it has been difficult to find them.

For what it's worth, I've written two columns on craft beer for that magazine. Readers of this blog would not find anything new there. The columns target those who don't know much about craft beer. I hope to reach people who just come across the magazine and maybe they'll expand their beer selection.

As summer rolls on, I hope to return to this blog. I'll begin with some recent discoveries:

Seijoishii is a foreign food store with a decent craft / international beer selection. I picked up some Coedo for the train along with some Kona Brewing selections for the fridge. They also had Yona Yona and a few offerings from Hokkaido Brewing. that were popular with sweet-beer-liking friends.You can find this shop just outside the Hirokoji exit of Nagoya station.

Upstairs on the 13th floor of the JR tours you'll find a restaurant by Moku Moku farms of Mie. You can enjoy a buffet lunch or dinner (organic food, plenty of options for meat lovers and vegetarians) along with some craft beer made in Mie. There were two beer options on the menu along with a couple of seasonal selections in bottles available. They do not seem to offer their beer in bottles (or cans) to go so you have to go in for a meal to try it. There are similar restaurants in Mie (Tsu, Iga, Matsusaka) and one in Osaka.

I have been enjoying the Blonde Ale, which seems to me more bitter than previous years (though I could be wrong). Meanwhile, I know the Imperial Red Ale has been making the rounds. I really like this beer. It was a result of a collaboration of brewers from craft makers around Japan who converged at Ise Kadoya for a sort of beer-making clinic. I wish I could have been there for that! If you have not tried this yet, keep an eye out.

A Circle K in Ise has recently started stocking Yona Yona ale, and a different Circle K in town sometimes has Coedo options. Is this a new trend? I hope so. I'd love to see Yona Yona return to the shelves of my local grocery store (it left two years ago). I would also love to see a wider selection, of course, be it cans of Coedo, Echigo, or more brewers willing to go can and go national. It would also be nice if our friends at Ise Kadoya would expand their can options.

That about does it for today. I'm heading in to Ise Kadoya's Biyagura tonight for some birthday drinks, and I'll report anything new here tomorrow.


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