Kitanonomori (北野の杜) Light Ale and 4’33”

In last week’s entry we promised to cover two more brews from OGA Brewery. However, we have decided not to review their “aged BY.” at this time, only their Kitanonomori Light Ale. Those readers who were eager to learn more about “aged BY.” in this entry might consider using the literary equivalent of 4’33”. That’s John Cage’s unforgettable 4’33’’. If unfamiliar with this dynamic composition, we encourage you to view this performance of it:

This amber-colored, hops-laden brew is labeled “Light,” which may be an apt adjective to use when describing its alcohol content (4%) and body. The influence of the hops, however, as you may have inferred from the first sentence, is anything but featherweight. They are powerful heavyweights that seem to deliver a knockout blow to whatever other flavor characteristics may be present. The barley for this brew is sourced from Mitaka and the U.K. We detected a slight sweetness on the nose and a powerful, disconcerting bitterness on the finish. If things go better with bitter for you, this is your brew, but balanced, it is not!

In this entry we paid homage to Cage by limiting ourselves to 433 words. If you count up to the previous period, you will realize that we have not yet met our self-imposed goal: only 200 words had been used up to that point. Hence, we will now make a few gratuitous comments about Mr. Cage and his prodigious output. Like many exceptional people, Cage wore many hats, but his most fashionable headwear bore the hallmarks of the composer, philosopher, and mycologist (mushroom expert). Cage was an innovator, who will most likely best be remembered for his prepared-piano antics, Imaginary Landscape No. 4, which features twelve randomly tuned radios, or maybe the little-known “Son of Tree,” for which the “composer” wired up some plants and recorded the sounds that they made while they grew.  Our personal favorite and one that we think every death-row inmate should request when the warden solicits his final request before he makes his final exit is Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible).  The performance of this piece is scheduled to conclude in the year 2640! As it is unlikely that any warden would be familiar with this rather obscure composition, it could be expected that the request might actually be granted; thereby, opening the door, just a crack mind you, to the possibility of the hapless fellow’s escaping  the unwanted embrace of Old Sparky.

One of us had the good fortune to meet John on January 1, 1985. He said, “Happy New Ears.” (433)

N.B. If you would like to learn more about John Cage, we recommend that you check out All Things Cage on WGXC, 90.7 FM, in New York or download their podcast at It is hosted by Laura Kuhn, Executive Director of the John Cage Trust.

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