Mountain River Brewery Urban Farming Ale (Blueberry Ale) & Nightfall

A perennial topic of discussion among people with too much time on their hands is whether midnight is 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. We at do not want to see our readers sucked into this vortex from which they will never return to our blog, so we will banish any consideration of this by saying, “Hey, that’s why we have the 24-hour clock.” Though not in the same league as the cranks of chronology, there are those who invest a good deal of time addressing this thorny question: “What is ale?” We, with our busy tasting schedules, will not do so. Instead, we will simply quote from the final lines of the “Ale” entry in The Oxford Companion to Beer. “Although there are a few exceptions, ales can usually be recognized by their distinctive, fruity character….”

The Blueberry Ale we tasted is from a microbrewery in the Kugayama district of Tokyo, a stone’s throw from Kichijoji. Their Blueberry Ale is a refreshing beverage, yeasty, slight fruit on the palate, more noticeable fruit on the nose, an abv of 4.5%, a pleasing amount of CO2—not overly aggressive—and a crisp finish that can be described as medium (+). It all comes together quite nicely in a drink that should go well with a light meal or something a little more serious.

The brewery is a short walk from the Kugayama train station on the Keio Inokashira Line. Besides bottles, Mountain River Brewery has several types of beer on tap that you can purchase and consume in the brewery shed. Open air with no crowds, this is the perfect kind of place to drink beer in the era of corona.

The brewery sources its fruit from the City of Mitaka, which is also a stone’s throw from Kichijoji and in recent years has been noted for its Kiwi Wine. One does not normally associate a major urban area with agriculture, but Tokyo does have its truck farms as well as its trucks. As some of our readers may know, Vienna has some rather significant vineyards along its northwestern edge and a couple to the south, as well. Tokyo could use more of the same—vineyards, blueberry patches, apple orchards….

The other beer we tried was Nightfall, which was described as a Brown Porter. A little light for a porter, it had orange, vanilla and molasses overtones. The orange came from the orange peels that actually went into the brew.

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.

#drinkingjapan #drinkjapan #mountainriverbrewery #kugayama

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