Reviews & info on some beers, bars & pubs in Japan (mainly Tokyo/Yokohama area) - with an extra large serving of nonsensical jibbbbah jabbah thrown in:

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Was feeling a bit racy last night. That was when I got my red rocket out.

Can I BEAR it any longer?

Bear Republic, that is.

Started things off with a Racer 5 IPA:

Very nice. 6.5-7/10.

Next, I got out my Red Rocket and starting having fun with it:

Red Rocket 6.5-7/10.

There seems to be a Bear Republic taste developing here. It could be in the hops, possibly the yeast?
Nah, I think it's in the hops. Could be the malt.
Could be I'm drunk.

Pretty nice, but I'm thinking the Hop Rod Red would have been nice to have as well.
Maybe next time.
Had them all on tap at Thrash Zone, during the Bear Republic opening party for Japan, about a month back. There will be another party/event, this tme in Popeyes. It will feature some of Nagano Trading's bestest and brightest (Stone, Greenflash, Speakeasy, Bear Republic, etc). Should be good. 1st March.

Now, I'm thinking about making love to a horse.

Isn't that one of the legends, surrounding Princess Katherine or Alexandria of Russia? Or am I way off base again?
Her council and spiritual adviser was none other than the infamous Ra-Ra-Rasputin, of the 70's disco fame:

Hell, yes.
"...the body of Rasputin, poisoned (enough to kill 5 men), shot four times, badly beaten & thrown off the palace walls was recovered from the Neva River.
autopsy established that the cause of death was drowning, due to the presence of water in his lungs. "

Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout 7.5-8/10.

Very strong, hard to dispose of quickly.
It takes a while...

Reputed to be quite the lady's man,
Also, it was rumoured that they cut off his schwang, after they killed him (or thought they did)...
Whatever the truth may be, this Rasputin is made of strong stuff.

But who knows? Maybe Rasputin isn't gone for good. Maybe he will come back?
Perhaps, where we least expect it...

...for example, in a kitten's ear?
(Thanks go out to Jack Bauer, for permission to photograph his kitten.)

Sweet dreams...

Monday, 23 February 2009

The key to any mountainous expedition is a good team of porters

I have a tough task ahead of me, yet undertake it I will.
I must.
The very fate of a finished blog entry depends on it.

I 'll call up all my remaining reserves of strength for a Herculean effort of slightly large proportions.
Here, I shall express it through the medium of sound:

Shit. That woke me up.

I'm hoping at least my porters will fare a bit better than these poor devils:

It's not easy, choosing a team of porters.
My criteria are:
  • They must be true porters and not simply pathetic, feeble pretenders.
  • They must be robust, with character to last the course.
  • They should have enough strength that, say, 4 or 5 should be enough to carry me away.
  • They should be Japanese (although some sense of mixed nationality will be accepted).
  • If tested, they should have an alcohol content of not less than 5% and no more than 7%.
Wwll, after a very lengthy half hour of deliberation in at least 2 locations, nationwide, I finally decided on 4 stout, hardy fellows.

First, though. Before I begin my expedition, I shall enjoy the gentle embrace of a small, timid, warm, white lady.

She hails from Echigo.
Not too full on. Not too shy, either.
Bit of a nice bouquet to this lady. Reasonable body, but a tad thin for my tastes (back on the farm, we appreciate a lady with a good, solid body to her).
She goes by the name Super Premium Reijou Beer (all malt, unpasteurized, 5% abv).Very pale body, not a bad aroma but body is a tad thin. A lightish lass and hopefully hasn't destroyed my apettite for adventures ahead. 5/10.


Now, to start checking out the porters.
Time to test them and see just what they are made of.

First up is a local lass. Hailing from Kanagawa, I give you:
A brown porter?
Who is who?
Did they make a brown ale or did they make a porter?
Who made who?

More black than brown, I regard this as a hybrid beer (hence, perhaps, the name). Almost a strong brown ale or a gently subdued yet still porterish porter ( a whatish what?).
Full dark roast, caramel, chocolate flavors. Roasty and coffee aromas. Quite nice. however, like it's Sankt Gallen brethren, I think her body is too thin. A tad watery. I'm no fan of the Sankt Gallen family (can't you tell?), but I decided to give this one a go. I had it on tap at the The Cat and Cask, a while back and was impressed (or perhaps was impressed that I wasn't dissappointed for once), so I decided to give it a go.
Besides the rumours I'd heard that she failed to give good head, I must say, I wasn't overly disapointed with her effort:Now, I'm getting a slight taste of nuts on my tongue.
Dare I continue?
Not too shabby, however, she's just not man enough for me.

To paraphrase British Lieutenant-General Frederick A.M. Browning, "I think we may have just gone a bridge too far."

Sankt Gallen brown porter 5/10.

Next, I'm gonna go black.

Tokyo Black.
She's back.
She's black.
She's refined.
She's mine.

Pours velvety black with a nice cm of creamy roast malt head.One of the better beers on the market, in terms of quality and also value and availability.
You can find her at many bars across the country and always more than willing to slide down your throat at a moments notice.
You may also catch her hanging around the alcohol section at various supermarkets and stores, nationwide (I've seen her in Tokyu and quite a few other places - she gets around).
If you like her, you may want to switch styles and give her brother a whirl. Yona Yona is a lovely fruity American style pale ale. Just 260 yen means it's one of the best value beers in Japan, even better value than his darker sister, here.
Anyway, back in black. Her head goes fast yet maintains a thin lacing, all the way down.Luxuriously so.
A lot of people like this dark lady.
Nice. Very nice. almost sophisticated.
Yet, real sophistication comes in the shape of her cousin, who I'm saving for last.
Yaho Tokyo Black 6.5-7/10.

Next up is a fine dark lady porter, from Numazu.
Brian Baird's Kurofune porter.
This is another fine beer and a good example of an English porter (but it may be classed as a Baltic porter - whoopsee!). Shtill...whdda...whaadda...whadda I know, eh? ...hic!She's got style, she's got looks, she's got head, she's got body, she's got legs...
...and she knows how to use them.

Seeing as 'Baird' is close to 'beard' and ZZ Top are famous for their beards (the two bearded guitarists and their drummer -Frank Beard.).

Damn. Nice beer.
Bit too cold though. I had it out of the fridge for 2 hours but it could still do with a tad warming up. Screw it She's laying there, whispering my name and I'm answering.
Nice. Almost a meal in a glass. Good, decently bodied (does that even make sense?). Oats? I taste an oatmeal stout, almost. Maybe I'm dri-dra-drunk. Nice body. Those oils that are so 'Baird beer' are evident. You may ask "What the h*ll is he on about?".
Well, it's hard to explain. Drinking Baird beer, I get a feeling of some kind of 'hoppy oils' in the beer that coat my taste senses on the way down. Gives it body and a certain thickness that I like. I can and have often drank Baird beer all night (once for three nights straight) without a hang over. Amazing. Good beer.
Baird Kurfune porter 7/10.

This lvoely brew is filling me up but there's always room for one more...

It's getting late into the expedition now, and I feel the end is near. Just time to try out one last porter.
The cream of the crop and possible one of my favourites, here in Japan.
It's that sophisticated cousin of Tokyo Black.

Tadah!!!I really do like this beer.
She gives a nice heavy, creamy, raosted nutty coloured head. aLmost malty caramelly. Yes, those are now words. Just now.
This is a real pleasure to drink. It's hard waiting for it to warm up, it's that drinkable. Very, very smooth and rich. A nice beer to lay back with at the end of the evening.
National Trust Porter 8/10.
Slightly different reaction to my night of Yaho's!

Well, that seems to be about it.

You could say, this blog entry is basically a Black Night, in pieces.

I had quite the black night.

But wait! All is not over just yet.
I still have one more...

...she's a demon. A blue demon, to be more precise.
I do like to suck on a demon, before I go to bed.

Watching Flight of the Chonchords, then it's time for bed, cos I have work in the morning.

Why on Earth wuold I be drinking on a weeknight?
Well, it's cos I just got paid.


Sunday, 22 February 2009

Had a threesome tonight

Temptresses, all. They were good.

"Yaho!" I shouted, as I sucked on them.
Sucked them dry, to the very last drop.
Bloody lovely, they were.

May go for another threesome, next Sunday. Same time, same place.
My place.
Any time.

The first was a sprightly lass. Stronger than she looks but had a frine pedigree behind her. She knows what she's about and makes no pretentions about exploring down your throat and exciting your tongue.

The second was a little more serious, yet maintained an aura of Eastern mysticism. A hint of Eastern spice yet mature bitterness but still lively and very, very strong willed. There's no denying her.

Finally I went for the big, bold, robust black seductress from Tokyo.
Man, she things she can do to a man's mouth and tongue will leave you laying back and waiting for the next luscious mouthful of love.
Velvety smooth and gentle on the tongue, but oh so pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how threesomes should be done (all in the privacy of your own homes, of course):
(p.s. not many animals were harmed, during the enjoyment of this threesome)

Friday, 20 February 2009

Work, work, work... never ends.

Well, it's a Saturday afternoon and I'm working.
I'm a working man.

Off to Kanda for an important assignment.
To get royally sh*tfaced.
Maltan has their Becken fest on this afternoon, from 4pm.
6 Becken beers on tap, from 4pm, until they run out
  1. houjou
  2. weissen bock
  3. dunkle bock
  4. dunkle
  5. weissen
  6. pilsner
Well, it's hard work, but somebody's gotta do it.
I'll try to take a pciture or two, if I don't lose my camera (or my blet, sweater or underpants - again).

As well as the Becken fest at Maltan, Towers has a strong ale festival, featuring:
  1. Yaho barley wine,
  2. Minoh DIPA,
  3. Hakusekkikan huricane,
  4. Nest Celibration ale.
My God, it never ends.

Also, Bulldog is close by. Always good to pop round there and push the limits of my liver and kidneys just that little bit further.
Work, work, work...

Monday, 16 February 2009

What time is it? Why, it's TIME FOR A BEER! - The best training.

It's beer o' clock and I'm thirsty.
Mmmmurphy's Irish stout - it's what it's all about.
Good stuff. Smooth, dark, velvety, creamy, malty, lovely. 7/10. Only 390yen at Yamaya supermarkets.

To hell with my good night's sleep, in anticipation of tomorrow's 20km stumble/stagger, chasing after junior and senior high school athletes, whilst occasionally checking that I can still feel my legs and my broken spine hasn't exploded from the constant jarring impacts from the tarmac.
Yes, it's the Japanese high school's annual 'Marathon day'.
Marathon in the sense of 4km for junior high school students and 6 for seniors.
I usually run all the races. 4, 4, 6 & 6 km.
They are staggered, so by the time I've finished one, the other has already started. I'm constantly playing 'catch up' with the little buggers.
Needless to say, I'm not getting any medals, by the time I finish.
I don't race, I run. I love it. Just like swimming in raw sewage.

The thing is, just 2 weeks ago, my poor back gave out.
I was in agony for about 10 days. I started to get better, but had a minor relapse at a wine convention (ended up losing my memory, my digital camera, belt, sweater and underpants). Woke up the next morning with no memory and wounds on my back and left leg that still haven't healed. I don't know where I went or how I got home. Scary stuff.
Anyway, I can more or less stand up in the mornings without the aid of artificial aids (whoah, don't go there, son). I'm walking up straight and can more or less maintain a slow jog for about 100m. I'll see how many km I can do tomorrow. I reckon once the joy of the run gets in my system, I'll be off like a mad dog.
If I do get tired, I can always employ the strategy I used last year:

It didn't work then and I doubt if it will work this year, either. Still, it was interesting to try and I enjoyed the looks I got as I ran round the 4km course - in reverse.
Anything to break up the monotony of a forced run for the poor kids who have no choice and no chance of putting in a good time. A thankless hurculean task they are set by their taskmasters, 'for their own good'.
So, whilst the other teachers are talking amongst themselves, unaware and uncaring of the struggle most kids are undertaking or stewarding the run with blank expressionless faces or even dressed up in their tight spandex, reliving their unsuccessful youth and racing the faster students (getting off on their ability to run faster than a kid with 20% bodyfat and asthma), I'm trudging my way round the course with the slow kids, joking and chatting and trying to get them to appreciate their surroundings and getting them to relax and actually run and enjoy it.
For me, the measure of how good a class is or how healthy the school students are is not how fast the best students can run 6km in. No, sir. Rather, I think it's the time the slowest students come in. That's where I am. That's where I'm needed. The fast kids don't care about anything but being No.1.Anything else simply isn't good enough. It's quite sad. Most kids are setting themselves up for dissapointment from the off.
I like to run with the other kids, the real kids, overtaking them and eventually perhaps catching them up again on the next lap round. Constantly encouraging and joking and getting them to breathe correctly and relax and not try to sprint uphill and just relax and fly downhill. It's amazing the effort that some kids can suddenly put in, if only someone cares enough to encourage them. I have so many great memories of slowly running with kids, be they overweight or injured or just plain unfit. Just staying with them and making their run more bearable by talking and encouraging and accompanying them I believe makes all the difference.
No one left behind.

I make sure the last person in every race is one silly Welshman, not a poor unfit sad young boy or girl. For me, it's far more important to be last, not first.
I enjoy those races much, much more.

Jeez, I'm waffling.
I think I may be s-o-b-e-r-i-n-g up. Sh*t.

Well, it's 1am. Gotta get at least 5 hrs sleep in before I do the 20km.

Maybe I should get another beer?
Would it help or hinder my progess, tomorrow morning?
According to this article, it won't help at all.
Bloody diet channel.What do they know?
Some people justify alcohol consumption the night before an athletic event or training session by calling it a part of their carb-loading routine. Of course most people are saying this in jest, but some people actually believe it. However, the truth is that drinking alcohol can really hurt your athletic performance. It dehydrates you and interferes with normal blood sugar control. If you become dehydrated or hypoglycemic during an event, you are not likely to perform well. You might not even be able to finish. Although beer does contain some carbohydrates, it is a very poor source. Two-thirds of the calories in beer come from alcohol.
If you do drink beer while you are training, make sure to drink plenty of water. Eliminate alcohol altogether in the days leading up to a race, as well as before very long runs. Beer undermines your efforts to hydrate adequately.
Sod that.
I'm getting another beer.
Who wants to live forever?
Well, I wouldn't mind.
Perhaps the question should be - who want's to live forever, sober?
Eh? Ay! Do you?
Well, do you?
Nah, didn't think so.