My husband, friend and I went to the Jug Shop's Ise Kadoya Micro Brewery and Bairy Brewing tasting on Friday October 30th. The only Japanese Micro Brewery Beers we have had before have been the Hitachino Nest, which have made some decent beers and do some interesting Japanese spins on them.
Plus in Japan, microbrews are known as Ji Bīru(地ビール), or "local beer." In 1994, Japan's strict tax laws were relaxed allowing smaller breweries producing 60,000 litres (15,850 gal) per year. Before this change, breweries could not get a license without producing at least 2 million litres (528,000 gal) per year. As a result, a number of smaller breweries have been established throughout the country.
So we were all excited to try them.
We tried 8 beers and thought 3 were decent but only bought 1. We tried in order: Ise Kadoya's Pale Ale (5% $8.29/16oz), Brown Ale (5%, $7.99/16oz), Genmai Ale (5% $7.99/16oz), Triple Hop Ale (5%, $7.99/16oz), Stout (5%, $7.99/16oz), IPA (7%, $8.49/16oz) and Baird's Red Rose Amber Ale (5.4%, $5.29/12oz) and Kurofune Porter (6%, $5.29/12oz).
Ise Kadoya's Pale Ale was nothing to write home about, in fact it had a light soy sauce taste to it. It wasn't bitter, it had a light honey flavor, but it just left me unsatisfied. The Brown Ale wasn't anything special either. It had a light malt flavor, high alcohol nose (strange for it only being 5%) and it was a bit flat.
The Triple Hop Ale, IPA and Kunofune Porter all left me wanting something more. Nothing was special or unique about them and they all come with a high price tag per bottle and low alcohol content.
The 3 that did stand out were:
Red Rose Amber Ale, Genmai Ale and the Stout. The Red Rose Amber Ale is considered a 'steam' lager beer. This means that usually a lager is fermented at a very cold temperature, while a 'steam' beer takes lager beer and ferments it at a higher temperature. This usually gives the beer a more fruity complex taste. This beer had a light bitterness to it, a malt aftertaste and left your tongue dry like a rose wine. The beer's name is a bit deceiving as it does not have any rose in it. This beer is a nice crisp beer to enjoy when you want something light.
The Genmai Ale is interesting because they added roasted brown rice to the recipe. This in itself was bold and resulted with a beer with a nice roasted, slightly sweet cereal taste to it. This is what I was excepting when I came to this Japanese Beer Tasting- some innovative Japanese twists to the beers and this was the only one that did so.
Now the only one we bought was the Stout. Reading the description: roasted black and chocolate malts added to a Pale base malt- coffee like texture, ect; left nothing for us to be impressed with- until we smelled it- Brettanomyces. For those who don't know what 'Brett' is, it is what makes sour beers sour. AND once you use it in your beer, you can NEVER get it out. SO this beer tasted like a SOUR STOUT! Yum! Funny that they weren't selling it that way or had not noticed before they sent that batch out that very evil & dangerous yeast got in their system. But sometimes the best mistakes happen that way...I just hope they keep making it like this!
So as always, a good time was had by all just by tasting beers, BUT I wouldn't go out the door running to get some- unless you like SOUR beers.