As we step closer to the new year, thought this is the craft beer way of saying goodbye to 2013, welcoming 2014, by inviting some of my friends to write about memorable beers they have had in 2013, as well as some wishes or thoughts about what beers ahead...
There will be 5 different friends, each with different back ground, as well some what different taste in beers providing their list, out of the 5 friends, 4 are from KL( 2 locals, 1 American, 1 Belgian), and 1 from Tokyo(an Englishman).
The list is NOT a top of the chart or top ten kind of thing, it is just a way of recalling some beers, as well as looking forward to drinking some new/same beers again in the next 12 months.
First up is Neil from Tokyo.
Neil is a Blogger, Musician & beer lover particularly the Belgium brews. An Englishman based in Tokyo where craft beer scene is booming. Prior to moving east, Neil was savouring lots of good beers in London where he originated, as well travelling regularly to many parts of Belgium for what else but awesome Belgium beers.
here's the list from Neil in his own words:-
Cantillon Blaeber - http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/cantillon-blabaer-lambik/66438/
This was something I had wanted to drink for a long time, but due to the fact that it is only available in one shop in Denmark and for a very short time each year, I suspected that I would never get the chance. Thankfully, at the Ratebeer Japan Gathering 2 earlier this year one of the Danish attendees brought a bottle (thanks Sune!). So, it was a small serving, on the same day as many other beers, and a day which I started with a hangover, but it was glorious. Everything I had hoped for. Unfortunately, that will probably be the only chance I ever have to drink it.
Verzet Oud Bruin -http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/verzet-oud-bruin/182802/
One of the surprising highlights of my summer trip to Belgium. An old fashioned beer style being made by some young new brewers. I was sharing a bottle with my friend, and after we finished we decided that the perfect follow up beer was another bottle of the same thing. That is something of a rarity for me, as I usually like to try as many different things as possible, but this beer at that time was just perfect. I hope I can try it again on my next trip in January.
Lost Abbey Carnevale - http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/lost-abbey-carnevale-2009-/107389/
As CT has said, this beer really stood out on a night of very special and heavy beers. I think it would have really stood out on an evening of Saisons too, as it was really something quite special. I am a big Saison fan, whether they are traditional Belgian ones, like Saison Dupont, or some of the more experimental stuff coming from the US or Denmark. We could do with a few more breweries in Japan making them I think.
Shiga Kogen House IPA - http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/tamamura-honten-shiga-kogen-house-ipa/67410/
A beer that many people have been saying is not as good this year, although there are also those who say it is just as good as last year. I am in a third category. I drank this last year and liked it. I drank it this year and thought it was amazing. One of the best Japanese beers I have ever drunk. The only problem is that it is a big DIPA, so I can't drink loads of it. People mentioned stinky tropical fruits, and I know what they are saying, but I really liked that aspect. Looking forward to next years version already.
As I referred to above, as a bit of a beer ticker on Ratebeer I like to try new things as much as I can. I also fall into the usual Ratebeer cliche of really liking Imperial Stouts and IPAs. However, recently I think I may have been changing my mind about this. The Japanese beer scene is exploding, but is still relatively small compared to other countries and finally I am kind of catching up with it, so now I can enjoy beers that I have drunk before without feeling like I am missing out on new ticks. Koenji Bakushu Kobo and their newly opened branch Ogikubo Bakushu Dojo are brewpubs on the Chuo line in Tokyo. There is also a branch in Asagaya, but I haven't enjoyed their beers as much, although they are still nice. They do not brew crazy high alcohol stouts or ultra hoppy IPAs. What they do brew is good tasty beers that I want to drink over and over. They are normally around 5% and the prices are pretty good for Tokyo. This is one of the places I have been to most this year. I don't want to pick a particular beer as they are always tweaking the recipes. It's just an all round good place.
to be continued.......more beers and thoughts from Neil in part 2 & part 3.