Thursday, October 25, 2007

Japanese beer: Beyond Asahi and Kirin

There have been a few articles recently about how wine and other spirits are becoming status staples in the far east. Given last night's start of the World Series (DO NOT MENTION THE AL TEAM PLAYING!!!), I carefully considered my choice of liquid denial and picked up a six pack of beer and a little something extra. This little pint of Hitachino Espresso Stout was intriguing enough to make the low dollar-induced, shockingly expensive price worth considering. I¹ve had a few Japanese micros from time to time, and found them more suited for ­ -- surprise surprise -- Japanese tastes. Generally Japanese beers are a little lighter and hoppier than I prefer, but I've always found them well made and, as with other Japanese food, putting a premium on freshness and pure ingredients.

So I was both content and pleasantly surprised by this bottle of stout. It is a deep, dark and even slightly oily concoction. A deep, small bubbled head put off a nice nutty and chocolate aroma. The beer really coats your whole mouth with a nice creamy, coffee-tinged flavor. It has a good dryness for such a creamy beer, and is very light despite its total black color.

Less bitter aftertaste than a Guinness (an imported Guinness -- ­ Domestic in Ireland has none), and really refreshing.

I really enjoyed it and, when the special occasion or sale beckons, I will be sure to look for that cute little owl and drink up. Kampai!!