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

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.



  1. totally agree but would put the tokyo black on top for all round OOOMMMPHH. I guess thats not total agreement is it?

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  3. where are you picking up your beers these days?

    password is mulgent...sounds like an 80s power metal band to me

  4. I get my beers from everywhere (including Tokyu, Inagariya, Sugaya, Tanakaya, Yamaya, etc), but there's a great wine and cheese shop not too far from Tsunashima station that has most of the Yahos plus those bloody Hitachino Nests & the Sankt Gallens, which I don't buy. There's only one there that I think is any good. I'm not the only one who thinks that.