Many of us are making efforts these days to support our favorite local businesses, be they restaurants, groceries, breweries, whatever. The economic devastation brought on by the policies of some governments have left the little fish gasping for air, while the big fish do swimmingly. We recently paid a visit to Ogikubo Beer Kobo, a different franchise of a brew-pub chain we covered in an earlier blog entry. Beer Kobo rotates its beers among its branches, so you are likely to encounter new offerings if you make subsequent visits to the same branch. This time we had the good fortune of sampling brews whose flavors are closely linked to Japan.
Genmaicha Brut: “Genmaicha,” according to The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook by Heiss & Heiss, “is a tasty mix of either Sencha leaf (from spring or summer plucking) or green Bancha leaf (fall plucking) and kernels of roasted and popped rice.” It was the toasted rice that plucked the right notes for us. The toasted element in this beer has an effect not unlike that produced by charred oak on wine. This easy-to-drink, gratifying beverage has an alcohol content of 6.2% and is an excellent stand-alone drink or a great partner with food.
Yakiimo Brown Ale: This is an ale made from that ubiquitous autumn treat stone-roasted sweet potatoes. The flavor of this—believe it or not—member of the morning glory family comes through, but the overt sweetness that is usually characteristic of the food is somewhat subdued in the beverage, making it perfect for drinking with a meal. The color is amber, the body light, and the ABV is 6%.
Nota Bene: The review above is from a visit in October. We also visited the brewpub in November when we encountered Roasted Apple Beer, Stewed Pumpkin Beer and Persimmon Beer. Although the brews were unique, we got a little too tired of all of the fried stuff which dominated the menu.
Recommendation level (out of five stars):
We have written a book. For more information on Japanese beverages, please check it out. You can get it at fine offline and online booksellers in Japan, including Amazon.
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