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

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I'm not boozing weissen - it's serious research.

Trust me. I'm a scientist.
Well, I used to be, anyway.

Some of you (i.e. the one person apart from my mother who possibly reads this blog) may know that I am now starting to brew my own beer.

Good lord, is there no stopping me?
Now, I will be able to get comfortably numb in my own living room.

Well, I'm thinking of brewing a weissen tomorrow.

Now, to be sure exactly what kind of flavor profiles I want and to fully understand the complexities that make up a good weissen, I have decided to perform some mature and responsible research in the form of a serious scientific experiment, involving the delicate deconstruction of the workings of 4 weissens that I just happen to have chilling in my fridge.

It's just pure coincidence that, by undertaking this arduos experimental undertaking, in the name of science, I will probably end up getting well and truly smashed.

I am prepared for such an eventuality.
The bed is but metres away.

Tonight's contenders will be (based on what was in my fridge):
  • Franziskaner hefe weissen
  • Weltenberger hefeweissen
  • Fujisakura hefeweisen
  • Gotenba Kogen hefe weissen
Looking good.
2 very nice German specimens, together with a pair of perhaps Japan's best weissens.
How will they fare, under the analytical analysis of a boozing boozer?
When I started drinking quality beer, wheat beers were my favourite style.
I would search them down in Japan and abroad.
I've been to Munich about 5 times, always after the fantastic Bavarian hefeweissens and also the lovely helles.
My favourite weissen bier has to be Schneider.
Man, that stuff is good.
In Japan, you can get it in the bottle at Baden Baden beer bar under the train tracks near Yurakucho for 950yen for 500ml. Best price I know of in Tokyo for a bar. It's sometimes on sale in Tanakaya beer store in Mejiro (best beer store in Japan).
Unfortunately, I don't have any in my fridge (boo hoo!) but the 4 I DO have are very good examples of the style - or are they?

We shall see...

Contender number one:
Gotenba Kogen weissen
First impression was "wow, light color!".
Gentle, subtle amount of yeast in the bottle.
Slightly dry taste, though the banana and clove aroma so much the signature smell of a good hefeweizen is there.
Just a tiny bit bitter and dry tasting, this one.
Not that bad but sorry, not that good.
(To be fair, the bottle was best before last October!)
I recommend popping by the Gotenba brewery restaurant near Fujioka station and taking advantage of their 3grand all u can drink and eat offer. It's a good one. You get at least 4 beers on tap: Weissen plus her sisters, the pils, schwarz and the seasonal cousin from out of town.

Contender number two:
Fujisakura weissen.
(Music stops).
What... ...the booze is going on?
This is NOT a hefeweizen.
Well, not any more, anyway.
To be fair, this beer was best before June, LAST YEAR.

This is what it should look like:I took this at the lovely Sylvan's Fujisakura brewery/restaurant, on the gentle slopes of Mt.Fuji, near Kawaguchiko.

Well, slightly different, this one.
perhaps I got he black sheep of the 'weisse' family?

I decided that, as a scientist, I should go and give it a sip.
I knew I should have drank this a long, long time ago.
This is what happens when you put off that special moment, whether it be drinking the nice beer in your fridge or telling that foxy lady across the bar that you just want to rip her clothes off and handle her handles (hey, she's not bad for an 80year old). Sometimes, in the right situation, it's actually okay to say these things. Just not right now.

So take it from me, guys, or girls (my mind is drifting now), don't think. Just do it.
Enjoy the moment.
Savor the flavor, the taste, the aroma.
Then, as you spend the next 2 to 5 in minimum security for sexual harassment, you'll have at least two wonderful mammaries to look back on and enjoy.

Someone's starting to show signs of C2H5OH adjusted behaviour... ...or are they?

This is not time to stop and think! I need another beer - fast!!!!

Contender number friggin' three:
Pansiskaner hefeweissen.Wow. Nice.
I know I can always count on this lovely baby from Munich to shine.
It's a great hefeweizen.

You can get this baby on tap in Japan, courtesy of Zato Trading. These are the guys that hold the annual Oktoberfests in Tokyo, Yokohama, Sendai and Fukuoka (I think).
They are also responsible for the hefty price. Perhaps due to this, a few bars that used to have it on tap or in bottle no longer do.
Zato does however have a number of restaurants that serve Franziskaner hefeweiss, hefeweiss dunkel, Spaaten helles, premium bock and the lovely 7.2% Spaaten Otimator dopplebock

Well, this one wasn't skunked.
Although it was best before June 09, just like the Fujisakura.
Both bottles had spent the whole time in the same fridge, therefore at the same temperature.
BIG difference in how they turned out!

I'd like to show the head brewer of Fujisakura, Miyashita san, the photo of the skunked weissen. It'd be interesting to hear his thoughts on what happened.
I can't complain though, as it was clearly a long way past it's best before date.
no hate on Fujisakura.
I love those guys.
I go there about 5 or 6 times a year.
Good people, nice fried potatoes (cheapest thing on the menu!), decent beer.
ALWAYS get sh*tfaced hammered and leave the place smiling.
Nothing at all to do with beer farts.

Back to the Frannie.
She's handled herself well, despite her advanced age (oh lord, my mind is drifting again - sometimes it's a curse, having this imagination). Even though she's well past her prime, she still smells pretty good and tastes not half as bad as I'd imagine (gags).
Decent amount of yeast in her, seemingly without infection (where am I going with this?).
She gives really impressive head, considering her advanced age (hopefully that is the first and the last time I'll be typing that sentence).
Solid, creamy, long lasting.
Her body colour is nice and her body feels sufficiently silky and body weight is medium to a tiny bit thin.
There is a certain astringency that I put down to the old age - she has that 'old age' taste ( I certainly hope you don't know what I think you think I mean).
All things considered, this old girl didn't fare too badly, considering.
Not the best she's been and obviously past her prime, but I'd give here a go again, if that's all there was.

Contender number -hic!" - four:
Weltenberger - not cheeseburger - hefeweissen.
Well, what could possibly go wrong this time?
can't wait to find out...Diacytyl?
Got a pronounced buttery taste. Weird. It's not as I remember this beer.
Just 490yen at my local-ish supermarket, this is usually a great deal.
Brewed on the banks of a river in Germany since 1050, Weltenberger makes some nice beers.However, this bottle was a disappointment. Perhaps it wasn't transported very well. Perhaps I'm not in full control of my taste buds.
Bit sweeter than usual. Is it me? Tastes a tad weird. Or am I?

Today's champion on a paultry 6.5/10 is the Frannie kanner!
Man, I kinda bumbed out on luck with these beers.
Two of them were clearly aged. One was not as good as I remembered. The other was drier than I remembered. A good point to remember about weissen is that fresh is best.
Once you get your hands on a lovely sweet German, flip the top off her and get your lips round her, fast!
You never know when suddenly she becomes too old to enjoy to the max!