Polar Night, Kitanonomori (北野の杜), and aged BY.

The three items listed in the title are all brews from OGA Brewery, a microbrewery located in Mitaka, approximately fifteen minutes on foot from Mitaka Station. We will begin with Polar Night, as we have our very own polar tale to tell. Many years ago we found ourselves in the Canadian Arctic. It was the town of Resolute. We had intended to stay only a very short time, but the weather changed; flights were canceled; and the community found itself incarcerated by a blanket of fog. Though this experience disrupted our immediate future plans, it was not entirely unpleasant. The mayor of Resolute, a congenial man, invited us to dinner and regaled us with a number of very interesting stories about life in the Arctic in general and Resolute in particular. One was about the Japanese movie Antarctica (English title), which had been released a few years earlier, in 1983. The movie starred Ken Takakura. Don’t worry, readers, we know the difference between the two poles: they are poles apart, of course. Forgive the pun. Let us get back on track here. …Despite its title and plot, some or all—our memories fail us here—of the movie was filmed in the Arctic. It is apparently cheaper to film there than in Antarctica. One problem facing the director et al. was the fact that there are no penguins in the Arctic. Not surprisingly, they decided to use fake penguins. When the film crew left, the impostors remained and were placed in some kind of storage facility. Shortly after, when an inspector from some government agency appeared to make sure everything was okay up there, a little joke was played on the man. Some members of the community told him there was a penguin-smuggling operation going on, and he, of course, went stealthily to the alleged penguin prison, opened the door slowly, and was faced with the blank stares of the ersatz colony.

Now back to the review. Polar Night is a dark IPA that should brighten up any polar night, with or without penguins. It is made without pasteurization—no heat for this serious brew—and has molasses and burnt toffee notes with a hint of orange. It is slightly bitter, and smells a little like amazake. The abv is 6%.

We will report on the other two brews in the title in future entries.

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