Saturday night. The party town of Ikebukuro. The craft beer and sake bar called 万事快調 (“all’s well”). Of course I forgot to take any pictures, so I just used the one from Tabelog.
They have a(n ever-changing) selection of 10 various Japanese craft beers and countless interesting sake. The whole atmosphere is really nice, so is the attitude of the staff. While I’m not a fan of eating at bars or pubs (unlike the Japanese), I couldn’t not notice how the food looked really appetizing. I’ll be sure to go again when I get a chance!
I went with a friend and we sat at the bar. Spent the night chatting by ourselves or with the guys next to us until the last train. It was a funny small-world experience that one of the guys sitting next to us turned out to be the little brother of a very famous director at my company.
Not to mention that apparently the boss wanted to go and see the Pogues at Fuji Rock. I considered that seriously as well, because it’s the Pogues, but going that far (because even though it’s closer than it was to Shiga, it’s still pretty far) and paying that much was just not reasonable for me.
I tried a few of the beers and by some sudden idea I decided to take notes too. (Don’t have any high expectations for the “reviews” though.)
Baird Beer Teikoku IPA
It’s hazy, dark peach color. My first impression was that it’s smoky. A smoky IPA. That smell is accompanied by a thick body with medium carbonation, demanding to be taken seriously.
It keeps the smoky, earthy flavor to it, while adding a few new notes that I didn’t notice in the smell at first. There’s a light lemonish tint of sourness, but the taste is dominated by the rich yet dry floral flavors that brought vegetables to mind.
Then of course there is the good bitterness from the hops. It fits well with the “adult” tastescape and body.
Bell’s Beer Porter
As I expect from porters, it’s dark brown, almost black. It has a very, very light smell. I had difficulty even just catching it, but the little I managed to find was something dark and roasted.
In straight contrast with that came an overwhelming taste explosion. It’s an amazing composition of roasted smoky malts, dark chocolate and bitterness. There’s a strong aftertaste dominated by that bitterness as well.
Despite its strong taste, its body is surprisingly light, with fine carbonation. I was caught a bit off guard by the contrast of the powerful taste and the relatively light smell and body.
Shonan Beer Alt
This alt from Kumazawa Brewery’s Shonan lineup has a beautiful dark amber color and strong lacing. It has a sweet and soft berry smell that reliably predicts the tastescape of the beer.
It has a very rich, creamy body, the weight of which is counterbalanced by nice carbonation. The sweetness of the malts backs up the berry taste. Oh right, did I mention it tastes a lot like berries? The flavor itself isn’t heavy though. The aftertaste especially is light, but the creaminess lingers for the longest.
I’m not a big fan of sweet and creamy things, but this alt beer was enjoyable even for me.
Miyazaki Hideji Hyuganatsu Lager
Miyazaki Hideji’s lager has a pale yellow color with a short-lived head and some minor lacing. The smell is all about the citrus tones, an almost grapefruitish acidity.
It not only smells, but also tastes of citrus. Hell, it actually has some fruit juice in it! Interesting enough, while I expected the body to be quite light to accompany that fresh taste, it turned out to be surprisingly creamy. It’s not heavy though, but accompanied by the light carbonation, the medium body makes the overall impression really gentle.
Of course the aftertaste is dominated by the grapefruit too, but there I think I caught a glimpse of something else too that I couldn’t grasp (best guess would be fresh ham). Overall, it’s a unique combination of citrus sour and a soft mouthfeel.