Echigo Stout – Echigo Beer Co. (Niigata, Japan)

Echigo Stout – Echigo Beer Company, 7% ABV, 330 ml., (Niigata, Japan)


  • Style: (sweet) Stout
  • Taste: Smooth balanced molasses light roast caramel biscuity barley malt
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $7 CAD (after 10% off) – 330 ml., September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure, but not crazily

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Pours dark cola brown without a significant head, thick ringed retention, lots of clustered very active micro streams.

Nose: caramel liquid barley malt, light roast, hints of nutty. (lvl-8)-pungency, much stronger as it warms

Attack: dull crisp, soft light creamy, sweet caramel malt impression

Mid-palate: flat-tingly, (lvl-5-sweetness), molasses barley malt, light roast caramel malt, nutmeg, biscuity

Finish: hints of chocolate, lingering nutty-woody light bitter, cola

Summary: A very easy-to-drink 7%er stout with a solid balance of sweet and roasted malt. Slightly heavy malty sweet by the end but there’s enough complexity to balance it out. It lacks a bit of creaminess and push at the finish.

味わい天空 (Ajiwai Tenkuu) – 湖畔の杜ビール (Kohan no Mori Beer) (Akita, Japan)

味わい天空 (Ajiwai Tenkuu) – 湖畔の杜ビール (Kohan no Mori Beer), 5.5% ABV, 330 ml., (Akita, Japan)


on the front:

“「澄み渡る爽快な宙(そら)」のようなビールを造りたいという醸造者の熱い想いの中、実現したビールです。その味わいはまるで天空を突き抜けるがごとく爽やかです。全体のコクと爽快さのバランスが、このビールの醍醐味。醸造者から「こよなくビールを愛する人たちへ」贈ります。”, which google translates as:

In the passion of the brewer that want to build a beer such as “perfectly clear refreshing the air (sky)”, it is a beer that was realized. Its taste is refreshing as if like penetrate the sky. Overall flavor and balance of freshness is, the best part of this beer. From brewer “to the people who love Koyonaku beer you gift.


  • Style: Dortmunder/Helles
  • Taste: Clean sweet drinkable smooth bready lager malt
  • Where I got it : Tokyo Subway Station
  • How much: ¥500 ($6.50 CAD) – 330 ml.,  September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: decent, but nah

Visual: Pours translucent marmalade orange with a smallish head, a thin layer of retention, scattered steady micro streams.

Nose: bread malt-forward lager malt (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-lively, incoming sweet lager malt

Mid-palate: bright clean (lvl-5-sweetness), creamy smooth bready lager barley malt, hints of honey

Finish: residual lager malt exhale, hints of apple juice, very subtle hops

Summary: A very clean and smooth easy-drinking lager. Not something I would remember, but it went well with a meal.

秋田美桜酵母ビール (Akita Biyōkōbo Beer) – 湖畔の杜ビール (Kohan no Mori Beer) (Akita, Japan)

秋田美桜酵母ビール (Akita Biyōkōbo Beer) – Kohan no Mori Beer, 5.5% ABV, 330 ml., (Akita, Japan)


on the front:

“桜の木に住んでいた自然酵母の力をかりました”, which I translate as:

“We borrowed the natural power of the yeast living in the cherry blossom tree”


  • Style: Sour/Wild Lager?
  • Taste: Smooth crisp bite apple sweet lager barley malt gentle hints of sour
  • Where I got it : Tokyo
  • How much: ¥450 ($5.70 CAD) – 330 ml.,  September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: Pours almost clear golden yellow with a decent sized foamy head, a 2mm layer of retention, mostly thick sticky lacing.

Nose: lager barley malts, hints of apple. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, fruity barley malt

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), light citrusy-grainy lager barley malt, mild wild yeasty tanginess

Finish: clean, trace amounts of bitter hops.

Summary: Not quite sure the exact style, but definitely not a spiced/herb/veg beer. It drinks like a hybrid ale mouthfeel body/lager barley malt and just a touch of sourness from the wild yeast. Mildly interesting, very drinkable.

Angry Boy Brown Ale – Baird Brewing (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

image

Angry Boy Brown Ale – Baird Brewing, 6% ABV, 360ml., (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)


printed on the front-right label:

“クールな戦士の顔の下に、激しさと決意と怒りの赤い炙が燃えている。それがこの予測できないブラウンエールの姿だ。つかの間のモルトの甘さとアルコールの熱さが、フレーバーの複雑さ、際立った苦味、そして僅かなアングリーなエッジを隠している。少しアングリーな気分の日にぴったりのビールだ。”

translation:

Beneath the cool facade of the warrior, a red-hot flame of intensity, determination and, yes, anger burns. So it is with this unpredictable Brown Ale: fleeting malty sweetness and warmth hide complexity, a barely controlled bitterness, and, naturally, a bit of an angry edge. It’s the perfect beer for a heated mood.”

wp-1463913810596.jpg


  • Style: Brown Ale
  • Taste: Smooth light tangy-sour toasted cola’d brown sugar barley malt subtle hops
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $4 (after 10% off) – 360ml., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes b/c Phillips says so

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours muddy nutty brown with smallish dissipating head, thin layer of micro retention mixed with some big bubbles, clustered steady effervescence.

Nose: brown sugar carameled barley malts. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thicker

Mid-palate: background soft tangy-sour, (lvl-5-sweetness), smooth crisp-cream-slick mouthfeel, rum & dry coke, brown sugar barley malt

Finish: woody toasted-burnt barley malt exhale, stealth subtle very soft lingering hopped bitter.

Summary: Oh so smooth and balanced brown ale with good complexity. Delicious.

Hitachino Nest Tokyo Station Edition Japanese Classic Ale – Kiuchi Brewery (Japan)

image

Hitachino Nest Tokyo Station (special edition) Japanese Classic ale, 7% (normally 7.5%) ABV, 330ml, (Ibaraki, Japan)


on the back label:

“This Japanese classic ale is a recreation of the first Japanese beer made in the Edo period. Please enjoy the Japanese taste, aged in ceder [sic] barrels like the old IPA style method from England”

wp-1457762014388.jpg


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Creamy full almost berrylike tangy woody toffee barley malt lingering bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Tokyo Station B1 / Japan
  • How much: ~$5 CAD – 330ml, April 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours reddish-brown with a small creamy head, ringed retention, suspended micro sediment, steady micro streams along the perimeter.

Nose: light toasted sweet toffee barley malts. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-thicker viscosity,

Mid-palate: fine creamy CO2 mouthfeel, almost berrylike, (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy-zingy, woody toffee barley malt, hints of sake sweetness

Finish: dryness, lingering medium sharp bitter hops.

Summary: A truly enticing full mouthfeel with a solid tasting barley malt body and lasting hops to finish it off.

Koshihikari Echigo Beer – Echigo Beer Co. (Niigata, Japan)

image

Koshihikari Echigo Beer – Echigo Beer Company, 5% ABV, 500ml, (Niigata, Japan)

from ratebeer.com:

“(Translated from the Japanese on the can) We’ve used the delicious water and Koshihikari rice that Niigata’s nature has provided and made this in a German-style decoction mash. This is a dry beer with a crisp palate and finish. ”

  • Style: (rice) Flavoured Lager
  • Taste: Crisp bite barley malt liquor sweet but smooth
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 – 500ml., May 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not for flavour

Visual: Pours golden orange with a sizeable foamy head, a 1mm layer of ultra fine retention, lots of spread out steady streams.

Nose: bright and sweet barley malts, trace  (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: super crisp bite

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-gentle sweetness, (MAIN) cereal grain, faint barley malt

Finish: liquid malt adjunct sweet finish.

Summary: I’m guessing the sweetness comes from the rice. 100% a meal beer; not a whole lot of flavour but does a good job of cleansing the palate.

Orion Premium Draft – Orion Breweries

wpid-20141025_225120.jpg

Orion Premium Draft – Orion Breweries, 5% ABV, 334ml., (Okinawa, Japan

  • Style: Pale Lager
  • Taste: clean liquid sweet barley malt
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) – 334ml., September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours rich golden amber with barley any head, a thin layer of micro retention, lots of fast singular streams.

Nose: barely anything, a bit of hay/straw. (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: liquid malt sweetness

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) barley malt, straw,

Finish: crisp, trace amounts of hopped bitterness, light clean barley malt finish.

Summary: Very clean and nicely sweet. No complexity but a good hot meal beer.

Red Rose Amber Ale – Baird Brewing (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

wpid-20140513_051004.jpg

  • My Rating: A-

Red Rose Amber Ale – Baird Brewing, 5.5% ABV – 360ml., (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

on the front right-side of the label, translated from ratebeer.com:

“This original amber ale is inspired by the “Steam” style of beer. Whereas a “Steam” is a lager beer fermented at an elevated ale-type temperature, Red Rose is an ale fermented at a lower lager-type temperature. Like a “Steam,” Red Rose combines a crisp lager refreshingness with a robust ale fruitiness. A lovely citrus-pine hop character is present from start to finish.”

  • Style: California Common/Amber Ale
  • Taste: Creamy almost-milky cocoa caramel malts w/ piney hops
  • Where I got it : West Coast Liquor
  • How much: $5 – 360ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: 100% Japanese label other than the name,a true import. But I had to go to the specialty liquor shops in Japan to find Baird beers. Pours cloudy iced tea brown with a nice sized foamy head, a thin layer of retention, some lacing, several steady singular streams.

Nose: clean, medium-sweet caramel malts. Very nice. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: creamy-smooth mouthfeel

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, light cocoa, almost milky

Finish: soft medium bitter pine hops + cocoa finish.

Summary: Crazy smooth and easy-sipping. Once again I’m surprised at the fact I finished this beer in under 5 minutes just tasting it.

Kurofune Porter – Baird Brewing (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

wpid-20140501_014406.jpg

  • My Rating: A-

Kurofune Porter – Baird Beer, 6% ABV – 360ml., (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

on the front right-side of the label, translated from ratebeer.com:

“Kurofune (means “Black Ships”) was the word the Japanese used to describe the American gunboats that came to open Japan to western trade. Kurofone Porter is sleek and forceful, but leaves a winning bittersweet taste of chocolate and coffee on the tongue. “Do not resist the superior might; cunningly acquiesce, and embrace.” Kampai!”

wpid-20140501_015253.jpg

  • Style: Porter
  • Taste: Chocolate roasted coffee malts, silky-creamy smooth and crisp, surprising spiced finish.
  • Where I got it : West Coast Liquor
  • How much: $5 – 360ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Extremely cool Japanese-style artwork on the label. Pours ultra-dark brown with a nice-sized cream-foamy head, good retention, sticky lacing, several micro bubbly streams near the base of the glass.

Nose: sweet roast coffee-chocolate malts, very enticing (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: silky smooth-crisp, mild fizzy

Mid-palate: creamy-smooth mouthfeel, (MAIN) chocolate malts, roasted coffee, mild soy sauce

Finish: just a touch of coffee sourness, soft bitter malted hops + roasted bitterness, hint of black pepper spiced malty finish.

Summary: Ultra smooth, crisp and well-balanced, this one is now one of my favourite porters. This makes me reconsider my love for imperial stouts.

Asahi black 黒生 (Japan)

Asahi black 黒生, 5% ABV – 334ml, (Tokyo, Japan)

from ratebeer.com:

“Bottle & can: Pasteurised.
Ingredients: Dark roasted malt; hops; rice; maize; Asahi’s pure cultured yeast.
Japan’s favourite dark beer. Brewed in Osaka, Asahi Black is made from three different roasted malts. This gives it a rich, nutty flavour and makes it incredibly smooth-drinking. Unlike other, more bitter dark beers and stouts, it’s brewed in a process called bottom fermentation, which gives it a subtle, sweet edge and smooth 5% abv.”

  • Style: Dubbel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: bread/yeast -> malt/nut/coffee/licorice -> light-medium bitter watery finish
  • Where I got it: Liquor Depot/Barn @Lansdown Richmond
  • How much: $4, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yep
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark coffee black, small head, micro CO2. Thick malts (& raw fish!?) on the nose. Lots of bread and yeast up front, medium (5/10) sweetness, tastes of roasted malts, nuts, light coffee, and hints of licorice, ending with a lingering light-med bitter finish – with a slight watery backdrop. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, decent carry, good drinkability.