Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #18

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Lest anyone question our determination to fully quench your summer thirst, we are releasing three more beat-the-heat seasonal beers: Export Lager, Queen & Country Pale Ale and Asian Beauty Biwa Ale.

(1) Export Lager (ABV 5.3%):

Brewed in the tradition of Dortmund-style export lagers, Baird Export Lager combines a huge depth of flavor with a brisk and refreshing character. Less fragrant in hop character but brawnier in malt body than a pilsner, Baird Export Lager is a supreme thirst quencher. Drink it side by side our Cool Breeze Pils and your tastebuds will experience a demonstration in subtle flavor differentiation that simply can’t be conveyed in words.

(2) Queen & Country Pale Ale (ABV 5.1%):

The heritage of the Pale Ale / Bitter style belongs to the British. American craft brewers have irreverently taken over the style with a boldly, and generally citrusy, re-interpretation. Baird Rising Sun Pale Ale slots into the irreverent American re-interpretation category. Queen & Country, on the other hand, is our tip of the hat to the British forerunners. Darker in color, earthier in hop aroma and more noticeably malty in body than Rising Sun, Queen & Country Pale Ale is a pintful of pleasurable beer history. Once again, a direct taste comparison between the two is a better lesson in Beer tasting 101 than we could ever hope to provide in words.

(3) Asian Beauty Biwa Ale (ABV 5.1%):

Biwa is “the small, yellow, edible, plum-like fruit of the loquat tree.” We had no idea what is was until our partner-friend-carpenter, Nagakura-san, brought some in last year for us to taste and then brew with. It is an extremely subtle fruit that harmonizes sweetness with tartness. Biwa Ale is krauesened at packaging and the character in the glass is a spritzy, effervescent and delicately firm one — like a true Asian Beauty!

All three brews are being poured from the taps of our Taprooms in Numazu and Nakameguro. Export Lager and Asian Beauty Biwa Ale are available in both draught and bottle (633 ml) at fine Baird Beer retailing pubs and liquor shops throughout Japan. Queen & Country Pale Ale is draught only and available in extremely small quantities.


Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

Shizuoka Beer 6/2: Bryan Baird Brewery

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I will never be able to praise Bryan Baird in Numazu City enough for contributing so much to beer and micro-brewing in Japan!

This is only my second “official tasting”: “Angry Boy Brown Ale”
(I made a point not to read Bryan’s own comments. There might be quite a discrepancy between the two of us!)

Bryan Baird Brewery: Angry Boy Brown Ale
Draught/nama Beer
Ingredients: Barley Malt, barley, hops, yeast.
Alcohol: 6 degrees
Contents: 300 ml

Clarity: smoky
Colour: rich dark brown-orange
Foam: very long head, great long-lived foam
Aroma: Oranges. Yeast. Strong and sharp
Taste: Comparatively shart tail. Tangy oranges lingering on at the back of the palate. Steady. Solid. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits.Dry. Welcome acidity.

Overall: Another beer suited for any food, especially meat, sausages and the like. Can be appreciated cold in summer on its own, though. Refreshing and very satisfying. Funnily enough I enjoyed eating Carr’s Whole wheat Crackers with it!


Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (21)

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This is mid-summer in Shizuoka, and as far as the weather is concerned it is a bit too hot (over 35 Degrees Celsius) and humid (over 85%)!
Light meals have suddenly become more welcome than those “stamina” lunches!

It actually also means more boxes and equipment. I have mentioned before tah Japan has come with some great Tupperware-style boxes. They are very light, rigid, solid and easy to close with a single push. Perfect for picnics, too!

Instead of rice, the Missus prepared “soba/buckwheat noodles”. The cucumber are home-made light pickles. The chopped leeks are for the soba dip/”tsuyu” inside the small round box. The tube contains yuzu/lime-flavoured wasabi paste to be mixed with the tsuyu, too. A hard-boiled egg was provided for needed calories,

with a green salad topped with “shabu shabu”/thin slices of pork poached in slightly salted water, cooled and seasoned with sesame dressing and sesame seeds. Some sliced home-made mini melon pickles and more home-made cucumber pickles.

The dessert consisted of “nashi/Japanese pear” slices. Crunchy, bursting with juice and delicious, they make for the perfect Summer dessert!

Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter

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Greetings from Mishima,

Today is August 1st and hard to believe two months of the summer have already passed. For kids in Japan though it’s basically just beginning as the summer vacation just began last week.

No matter where you are–and how young you are–we hope you are having a delightful and happy summer…in the northern hemisphere!

A few weeks ago I drove four hours to visit Hamada Tomoo and select some new works that he had just unloaded from the kiln. As I noted in my brief description online, Hamada Tomoo(b.1967) is a fine Mashiko potter expanding the tradition of which his grandfather Shoji made famous; his father is Shinsaku. Tomoo studied sculpture at Tama Art University before returning to Mashiko. He’s already established himself in Japan with numerous exhibitions including Mitsukoshi, Tokyo, and he was part of a three generation (Shoji-Shinsaku-Tomoo) exhibition at the Asahi Museum, Kyoto. I like his work–and know he’s an important potter for Mashiko–because its fresh for Mashiko using the same traditional materials his father and grandfather used. Tomoo has a keen sense and already since we last offered works he’s taken his art to a higher level. A few years ago a US museum director and I visited Hamada and now his work is in the museum’s collection. We hope a Hamada Tomoo piece will find its way into
your collection as well.
Here are the links to view the exhibition:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Please note additional photos or information will gladly be sent upon request.

I’ve also been adding scenery photos in many listings to give visitors a sense of place where we are and also just to enjoy the beauty of Japan. Also, as some know, there are often advance
preview photos of works to be offered soon.

As always thank you very much and all the best from Japan.

Clear skies,

Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Italian Cuisine: Via Del Borgo has re-opened! (2)

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It finally took us almost three weeks to arrange our maiden dinner at recently re-opened Via Del Borgo in Shizuoka City just by Tokiwa Park.
Apparently it has already become the “new” place to visit and did well to reserve a table for the three of us. I can guarantee you that the staff of five were working full steam all evening!
Alright, I’ll cut all the prose and keep to what we tasted for our first dinner. Expect more in the near future as their menus are exclusively seasonal!

Via Del Borgo has a good cellar open for all to see. To ease the waiters’ task we just entered it, chose our wine and handed it at the counter for opening and serving!
The first bottle was a red, 2004 Rosso di Montalcino, Mastroianni, Toscana/Sangiovese.
A bit tart at first, it came around very quickly with red fruits after a little airing.

For the antipasti we chose a very simple, delicious buffalo Mozzarella with “fruit tomatoes” grown in Shizuoka Prefecture,

a seasonal vegetables terrine and octopus millefeuille combination,

and Roman trippa (cow’s intestines and stomach) with Peccorino cheese.
That disappeared very quickly with the wine as we chatted along and realized we had to go back to the cellar!

We discovered a very solid 2006 MAMURI, Nero D’Avola from Sicilia.
We asked for a decanter and aired it a little at a time. Just perfect for the Primo Piatti!

Saffran Risotto. Absolutely superb. We made a point to order some home-made bread to scoop the sauce!

Puttanesca Linguine with Orida Aubergines (egg-plants) grown in Shimizu Ku (practically next door!). We had a little fight with the aubergines as we had decided beforehand to share everything and taste as many dishes as possible!

Taliorini with Guinea Fowl ragu (ragout) and vegetables. A find as the combination of small bits of guinea fowl and lotus roots made for such an intesting crunching experience with the al dente pasta!

And it was back to the cellar again! Alright, we did not drink it all as we had chosen it to share it with the staff! 2004 Roccamora Schola Sarmenti. Very rich red, almost rural in concept with plenty of red fruits again.

Secondo Piatti:
Milanese Veal Schnitzel on the bone. The veal came all the way from Ibaragi Prefecture. From then on, I took care of the cutting/carving! I will have to try this veal again all by myself!

Tokushima Prefecture “Awaodori” Chicken (probably the best in Japan!) Roast. I did cheat a bit and cut myself a larger share!

Skillet lamb on the bone. Would you believe that a normal serving is three cuts and that we were three of us! Juicy, tender, a delice!

Sorry, but by then we had spent three hours at the restaurant and were full. The desserts will have to wait until next time!

420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 3-2-7
Tel/fax: 054-221-7666
Business hours: Lunch (11:30~14:30), Cafe (15:00~), Dinner (18:00~22::00)
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Shizuoka Beer 3/5: Oratche Wind Valley Brewery Dark Lager Praha

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Coming back at my office after an afternoon spent on having students take a final exam, I could not resist from opening a bottle that I kept for such emergencies in the fridge. After all it had been a long stuffy day and I still had three hours to wait until dinner!

Windy Valley Brewery Dark Lager Praha

As usual with Oratche this is another organic beer using wheat malt.
It is unfiltered and should be kept in a cold environment because of its live yeast.

Clarity: slightly smoky (unfiltered)
Alcohol: 5.5%
Colour: Dark coffee
Foam: Long head, good medium bubbles
Aroma: Fresh, light, dry. Oranges, bread
Taste: Short tail. Dry and heady. Refreshing. Lighter than expected. Oranges, caramel, bread. Drinks well with food, especially cheese.

Overall: A beer fit for dinner in the heat of the summer. To be enjoyed in the evening after a long day’s work! Don’t be fooled by its dark colour. It is not a porter. Typical Oratche’s brew.

419-0105 Tagata Gun, Tanna, 349-1
Tel.: 055-974-4192
Fax: 055-974-4191
Homepage (Japanese)