Most bloggers who are in it for the long haul are aware of something called “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO). This involves steps taken to enhance the chances of one’s blog being seen by searchers and, it is hoped, visited by same. It’s better to reference the penguin in the overcoat sipping tea than it is to talk about the one sliding on the ice and downing fish.
Free beer is a good optimizer, as is the end of a quasi-lockdown, and UFOs, of course, can be counted on to beam up a lot of people. However, this entry does not address free beer, but heavily discounted brews from one of Tokyo’s most interesting brew pub chains—Beer Kobo. At the end of May the good people there offered their impressive array of beer for a much lower price. This was around the time of the lifting of COVID-19 related “restrictions.” Their unpasteurized offerings contain no UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects), of course, and should lift the spirits of all who encounter them; otherwise known as, close encounters of the ingested kind.
Nakano Beer Kobo is part of the Beer Kobo chain. Many of them are located along the Chuo Line. During past visits to sister establishments, the writers found the beers to be rustic (in a good way) and yeasty. Often there were one or two brews with some local Japanese ingredient, such as sudachi, a Japanese citrus fruit. We conducted a tasting of four brews.
Sakura Session Pale Ale
The first beer we tried was their Pale Ale Sakura. This is billed as a “session beer.” You might be asking yourself what that might be. The best definition we know of is that given by Beeradvocate.
Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication.”
This is a fresh brew with a short shelf life. Light with a hint of sourness and a yeasty aroma, the addition of sakura (cherry blossom powder) is a unique selling point. The beer is 5% abv with a clean taste and definitely meets the definition of “session” as given above.
Be Together NE IPA
Hops hit a home run here. This wonderful IPA, served up New England style, all hazy like a morning fog over Cape Cod, contains 5.7% abv. The bitterness, so characteristic of hops, is followed by another of its attributes—a subtle citrus flavor.
This brew delivers floral notes on the nose. The color is a lighter shade of tan. Hops hit the palate along with a pleasant sweetness. A hint of tropical fruit, mango in particular, can be clearly discerned. With the price of gold on the rise these days, best to get this soon.
Lightly carbonated with caramel and toffee on the nose and a hint of caramel sweetness and dark chocolate on the palate, this dark brew pays tribute to that little country renowned for its high-quality chocolates and, of course, beer.
Recommendation level (out of five stars):
Nakano Beer Kobo
53-4, Nakano 5-Chōme
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