Bryan Baird’s Newsletter


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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #11
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The Golden Week holiday is set to begin in Japan and we are kicking it off with the release of two of our staple spring seasonal beers: Four Sisters Spring Bock and Daidai Dark Wheat Ale.

(1) Four Sisters Spring Bock (ABV 6.0%):

Baird Four Sisters Spring Bock is brewed in the spirit of a German Maibock, albeit one of the type that was brewed centuries ago in the city of Einbeck and that was noted for its generous use of malted wheat. Four Sisters Spring Bock sports a deep copper-gold color and enjoys a sweet floral nose from aroma additions of Sterling hops. In the mouth, a rich malty flavor will introduce itself before quickly giving way to an extremely smooth, dry finish in which a hint of
honeyed-malt flavor and estery alcohol character lingers.

(2) Daidai Dark Wheat Ale (ABV 5.0%):

This is a wonderfully unique fruit ale that combines the spriteness of malted wheat, the richness and depth of roasted specialty malts (caramel wheat and chocolate wheat), and the fantastically spicy-minty aroma and citrusy flavor of Japanese Daidai fruit (courtesy of additions of freshly squeezed Daidai juice and shaved peels). This original ale epitomizes our brewers’ proud commitment to creativity and innovation in the crafting of beer!

Both ales are now being served at the Fishmarket Taproom in Numazu. They will be available at fine Baird Beer retailers throughout Japan, as well as at our online store, beginning Wednesday, April 30 (bottle size 633 ml).

Crafting fine beer is a privilege and a joy. Good brewers pursue a career in this profession out of love and the promise of internal satisfaction. At times, though, external recognition is important too. The greatest form of peer recognition in craft brewing comes with the awarding of medals at the semi-annual World Beer Cup competition. Baird Brewing is thrilled to be part of a strong Japan contingent that, collectively, took home ten medals from this prestigious competition. We were awarded bronze medals for two of our beers: Big Red Machine Fall Classic Ale (unfiltered/cellared category) and Nide Beer – The Ale (cream ale/lager category). Both of these ales will be available for purchase at our online store (reserves of the Big Red Machine Fall Classic Ale are extremely limited).

It is now definite; the grand opening of our Nakameguro Taproom will occur on Saturday, May 10. Beginning May 10, the Nakameguro Taproom will be open everyday from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm. The location is the Nakameguro GT Plaza (2nd floor) situated right next to bustling Nakameguro station (Toyoko and Hibiya lines) (Tel. 03-5768-3025). Please help us to make this a smashing new contribution to the increasingly vibrant culture of craft beer in Tokyo.

Finally, a remainder: the business hours for the Fishmarket Taproom during Golden Week will be as follows:

-Open from noon to midnight on Tuesday, April 29; Open as normal (5:00 pm to
midnight) Wednesday-Friday (April 30-May 2)
-Open from noon to midnight Saturday-Tuesday (May 3-6)
-Closed for business on Wednesday, May 7

Cheers!
Bryan Baird
HOMEPAGE

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Shizuoka Beer 6/1: Baird Beer


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At long last, I can start writing articles about some of the best micro beers in Shizuoka and in Japan!
Bryan Baird in Numazu City has deservedly won praise from all over the country for contributing so much to beer and micro-brewing!

My first tasting concerned “Rising Sun Pale Ale”

Bryan Baird Brewery: Rising Sun Pale Ale
Draught/nama Beer
Ingredients: Barley Malt, barley, hops.
Alcohol: 4.5 degrees
Contents: 300 ml

Clarity: smoky
Colour: rich dark orange
Foam: long head, thick steady foam
Aroma: Yeast, bread, oranges
Taste: Dry. Steady dry tail. Sharpish. Oranges

Overall: A beer suited for any food, especially meat, sausages and the like. Can be appreciated cold in summer on its own, though. Refreshing and satisfying.

Bryan’s comments: “This quenching brew is crafted in the American West-Coast style. It sports a beautiful soft citrus hop aroma, which gives way to a round, honey-fruit flavour. The finish is crisp and refreshing”>

HOMEPAGE

Shizuoka Oden (4): Nodaya


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I find myself when trying to define Nodaya. It is not an “odenya” in the strictest sense of the word as it does not limit itself to oden.
Shall I define it as an izakaya specializing in oden?
Whatever the name, it is certainly extremely popular in a city which prides itself for the best oden in Japan. When we arrived there last Monday shortly after 7:00 p.m., the place was packed to the brim. Luckily for us, Momose-San, a member of our merry band had booked a tatami table well in advance. No wonder it is open every day. I can assure you you will need a reservation whatever the day and time!

As we were sitting in the tatami room at the far end of the restaurant (they also have a party room on the third floor) we barely had the time to walk by the large vats containing all kinds of oden including the typical dark-brown Shizuoka-style broth.
In any case there was no way that the five of us could have found five seats at the counter. Fine, next time…

Now, the big bonus is that they serve no less than four different Shizuoka in individual 300 ml bottles: Masu-Ichi (Shizuoka City), Hatsukame (Shida Gun), Hana no Mai (Hamamatsu City) and Shidaizumi (Fujieda City). I personally consumed one each of the last two (a junmai genshu and a nama ginjo!). You can’t beat jizake with oden! Incidentally, if you wish to know more about Shizuoka Oden and if you can read Japanese consult the 2008 March edition of DANCYU Magazine!

Oden are great, but we chose lighter fare first: sashimi set. Such an offering would not disgrace any Japanese restaurant:
(from right to left) “Buri/yellow tail”, “Kurodai/seabream variety”, “Akami/lean tuna”, “Hirame/sole”, “Isaki/grouper typical of Shizuoka”. By the way, the echalette, shiso and freshly grated wasabi are naturally from Shizuoka.
Momose-San and I reflected whether we would be able to appreciate such great fish at such reasonable prices in say ten years time, considering the ever-dwindling world supply and Tokyo’s unquenchable thirst and greed for our local products. But I’m digressing (although this will become the gist of a future article)…

Kawashima-San could not resist the small raw “yari ika/cuttlefish”! I managed to steal one and I can assure you it is not an acquired taste!

Nodaya also ha some great tempura such as “Tara no me/shoots of the Japanese Angelica Tree/Aralia elata” (also called the “King of Tempura” in Japan!)

and Japanese-style fried vegetables on sticks.
Foodhoe is going to kill me with all that teasing!

Alright, alright, we did order oden!
They came in three styles actually.
The one above is made in light broth, Kansai-style,

while most are definitely Shizuoka-style served sprinkled with “dashiko/powdered stock” and “aonori/dried grenn seaweed powder”.

As for vegetarians, I would definitely suggest “daikon”, an oden cooked in miso paste!
My friends did not allow me enough time to record all the other items we ordered but know that there are more than you can eat in a single evening including vegetables, fish, eggs and meat!

No wonder it’s packed with regulars!

NODAYA
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken Cho, 16-10
Tel.: 054-251-3870
Business hours: 17:00~23:30 (~23:00 on Sundays and National Holidays)

Japanese Cuisine: Hi no Ki


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Last week Monday started inauspicuously with the morning rain forcing me to embark on one of those smelly airtight buses. To compound my (relative) misery a matrimonial spat resulted in no bentobox being prepared for my lunch.
Oh, well… I’ve always been an incorrigible (irresponsible) optimist and proceeded to work as if nothing untoward had occured.
At noon the skies, which must have appreciated my positive attitude suddenly cleared up and encouraged me to get out of the office quickly and venture downtown in search of a new place to visit.
Enjoying a notable lunch in Shizuoka City is not such an easy task as most restaurants limit themselves to “lunch sets” while izakayas simply stay closed so early in the day.
Wandering in the vicinity of Isetan Department Store my sore feet (cricket umpiring duty the day before) finally carried me to an establishment I had always been curious about: Hi No Ki.
Well, the time could not have been more propitious to try out this venerable (founded in November 1986) “Kaiseki/Kappo Ryori” restaurant (traditional Japanese Cuisine)!

The irony was that “kaiseki” lunch is arguably another form of “set lunch”!
At noon they offer three repasts while dinner comes in six different offerings.
Japanese customers do feel more comfortable with a well-orchestrated dinner, but the chef will readily take “ippin/one item” orders or think up of a tailor-made menu according to a pre-arranged budget.
Actually “joren/regulars'” preferences seem to be more the order of the day as I noticed many middle-aged guests being served a dish of sashimi, a bowl of rice with miso soup and pickles at the counter without even as much as ordering.

Customers may choose to sit at the counter and watch the chef Kuniaki Kaneiwa, a passionate craftsman who is more than willing to talk about his trade, a quality that lone diners do appreciate to the full.
All dishes will be described and explained in great detail by simply asking politely.
Otherwise, if you prefer to converse with your friends or guests, you may choose a table by the bay window or a private tatami room for more privacy.

The accent is more on quality than quantity with consequent prices.
Sashimi is just perfect and cut the right size for quick tasting.

Fish, when cooked (marlin above), offers another intriguing taste to customers.
The judicious choice of “tare/sauce” and soft Japanese spices alone is an invitation to savour the morrsel.

The small assortment of varied “oden” introduces this typical Japanese culinary experience at its best without encumbering your stomac’s capacity. A great French Chef like Dominique Corby will surely agree with me!

The tempura is a marvel of delicious simplicity and lightness that is best appreciated with one of three Shizuoka Jizake served at Hi No Ki: Shosetsu (Yui Cho), Masu-Ichi (Shizuoka City) and Kaiun (Kakegawa City).

I’m planning to visit the place again soon to see if I could order a vegetarian dinner!

HI NO KI
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-Cho, 1-5-2, Grande Maison Ryogae Cho
Tel.: 054-252-2935
Business hours: 11:30~14:00, 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays (open on National Holidays)
Cards OK for dinner only

Wine Tasting at Annam


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Thursday 17th of April was the third Thursday of the month and I had not expected drinking wine at Annam Vietnamese Restaurant in Shizuoka City as such tastings are held on the second Thursday of every month!
Not that I would complain, especially in the light that the Missus and I had come back from an unsatisfacory trip to Numazu City!
Annam holds such wine tasting with the help of Nagashima Saketen to demonstrate that Vietnamese cuisine can be appreciated with wine, instead of the usual beer for instance.

The Missus ordered a glass of Blanquette de Limoux, the oldestsparkling wine in the world (Dom Perignon, you are a horned liar!) while I had a draught beer (I did a lot of walking that day, and I needed fluids first!).
The papaya salad made for a perfect snack with the first glass.

The first drink having disappeared within a blink of the eye, I also had the Blanquette while my (?) half ordered Pinot d’Alsace Auxerrois (White, France). Actually as I downed the Blanquette before I could say “Glory be!”, I found myself asking for a St Magdalena (Red-Italy) before anything came up on the table. All simple hearty wines I must admit, but within everyone’s budget and in good accordance with more substantial set consisting of two kinds of Spring rolls, Vietnamese Quiche and other tidbits.

Deep-fried seafood balls,

and large prawns steamed in coconut milk enticed us for a glass of Cuma (White-Agentine) and another glass of the St. Magdalena diligently served by Mr. Hirotaka Sato, the Nagashima Saketen Sommelier on duty that night.
Although a white Viogner (France), a Petit Cep Syrah (Red-Languedoc/France) and a Serre Longue (Red-Roussillon/France) were also on order, we decided to call it a day (a night?) as rain was pouring in earnest outside and had to call a taxi back home.
The wine list changes every month, so I’ll do my best to attend the next wine tasting in May!

ANNAM

Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Tenmacho, 17-9
Tel.: 054-2502266
Fax: 054-2502323
Lunch: 11:30~14:30
Dinner: 17:00~22:00 (last orders: 21:30)
Closed on Mondays and day after National Holidays
Homepage
Credit cards OK

Tidbits at Tomii


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Tidbits?
I’m running out of title for this perennial outing!
Alright, let’s make the best out of it!
The above seasonal sashimi set includes (from left to right):
“Katsuo/bonito”, “Uni/sea urchin”, “Torigai/surf clam” under “Hirame/sole”, “Ishidai/seabream variety”, “Aka ika/Red cuttlefish” and “Akami/tuna lean part”.

To help me wait for my next order, I was offered “on the house” a few pieces of succulent “Konbu ko mochi/herring roe pressed on both sides of a seaweed leaf”.

The order in question is a bit of an acquired taste for some, but for a Frenchman!
“Ba sashi/thin slices of raw horsemeat” served with grated ginger, grated garlic and thinly cut leeks.
I actually offered a few pieces to the ladies ogling at my dish!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter


The Japan Blog List

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #10
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Thanks once again to the fruitful efforts of our friends at Four Hearts Cafe in Kofu, Yamanashi prefecture, we have been able to brew two delicious fruit beers which we are releasing today: Yamanashi Apple Ale and Yamanashi Budo Ale.

(1) Yamanashi Apple Ale (ABV 6.6%):

This is the second consecutive year we have brewed this wonderfully sprite and piquant ale. The recipe consists of base malts (Pils, Wheat, Carahell), Japanese Sudakito sugar, light hopping and, of course, fresh apples from Yamanashi prefecture. The result is a dry, highly attenuated ale with a stealth alcohol punch. The color is sunshine-gold. The aroma is the
faintly sweet one of ripe autumn apples. The flavor is light, spritzy and fruity. The finish is sweetly tart. You most definitely will reach for a second.

(2) Yamanashi Budo Ale (ABV 7.1%):

This is the maiden batch of a terrifically robust grape-infused ale.
Similar to the Apple Ale, the recipe is defined by base malts, Sudakito sugar, light hopping and, in this case, grapes harvested in Yamanashi prefecture. This time the highly attenuated, dry and quietly strong ale presents itself in a deep, bullion-gold color tinged with a rose hue. The
rich, opulent fruit aroma is coy in revealing its identity as is the robust fruit flavor. The unveiling of the grape as fruit comes in the slight but unmistakably vinous finish. This is a true Japanese Ale, where the “honne” lies hidden beneath the “tatemae.”

Both ales are now being served at our Fishmarket Taproom in Numazu.
They also will be available on draught at select Baird Beer retailers in Japan.
No bottles are available.

The Golden Week holiday is fast approaching. The business hours for the Fishmarket Taproom during Golden Week will be as follows:

-Open from noon to midnight on Tuesday, April 29; Open as normal (5:00 pm to midnight) Wednesday-Friday (April 30-May 2)
-Open from noon to midnight Saturday-Tuesday (May 3-6)
-Closed for business on Wednesday, May 7

Finally, mark your calendars for a grand opening of our Nakameguro Taproom on or around May 10. A definitive date and details will be forthcoming shortly.

Cheers!
Bryan Baird
HOMEPAGE