Neil is a fellow blogger(Tokyo Beer Drinker) i got to know on social media very early on when this blog started--and became friends after meeting up in Tokyo--still remember that's when i had my first Dark Lord(2009) bottle found and shared at a bar in Shibuya.
This is 3rd year in a row Neil is writing his list--as always, it's not only about what he drank--but some thoughts too...
here's the list in his own words:-( in English ofcoz)
Not specifically one beer I know (and this you will soon see is a bit of a trend in my list of memorable beers this year), but Kyoto have been coming out with some great stuff this year. Not to be confused with Kizakura whose beers have Kyoto in their names and are widely available in bottles, Kyoto Brewing are at the moment on tap only. Normally when the Belgian and US beer worlds collide they end up with something that’s a little disappointing, but Kyoto’s main theme of mostly brewing Belgian style beers but with a nod towards US stuff avoids this. Their year round beers Ichigo Ichie and Ichii Senshin are great. The kind of thing I want to drink all year round which is pretty convenient. Some of their specials have been great. Highlights were Nidomemashite, Catcher in the Oats, Ishin Denshin, Aki no Kimagure. But to be honest, it’s rare that they have duffers. So pleased that I can drink Kyoto all the time.
Rare lambics at The Trailer
We had a special event in Tokyo a few months ago where some ultra rare aged lambics were sold by the glass by a bar that is normally known for having a pretty boring selection. Really not sure where the event came from as it was a bit of a surprise, but it gave me a chance to have some great stuff that I never thought I would be able to drink. These included a Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekske Kriek from 2002 and a Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella from 1996. Whilst these beers were great it did make me think that things seem to have gone a bit crazy recently with rare beers. They were special, but maybe it is more special to sit on a terrace in Brussels and drink something that might have only recently come from the brewery and enjoy it for what it is. The reason we all drink beer is that it is enjoyable, but I feel somehow that the enjoyment has gone for some people and it’s more about acquiring the rarities in some kind of show of oneupmanship. But I shouldn’t complain too much, as at least these beers were being drunk and not just left unopened and traded round the world time after time. So, maybe I should add to the comment saying that I believe beer should be fun and enjoyable, the fact that it should also be drunk instead of being used as currency.
几个月前，东京有家酒吧举办了特别活动，这家NEIL形容是“平时选酒很闷”的店来了一批比利时果酸啤酒陈酿--包括2002年的Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekske Kriek和1996年的Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella--店家做法是开瓶一杯杯卖。
Yorocco Kinkan Porter Brett version
Almost appropriate that Yorocco should follow the rant above, as they are starting to pick up some admiring glances from various places. Yorocco is run the right way though, believing that we should drink local. This means that it is pretty difficult to find it even in Tokyo. It often doesn’t make it outside of Zushi, and in a way this makes it more special. If you have to work to get it, maybe the satisfaction increases. I really admire the way they do things and even better, they make great beer too. There seems to be thinking behind the beers they are making, rather than the more hit and (mainly) miss experimentation of other certain brewers in Japan. The Kinkan Porter Brett was amazing. But generally speaking, most of their beers are. But don’t tell anyone that, as their beers are already difficult enough to get as it is.
Hitachino Nest Barrel Aged Nipponia
A real surprise as Nest beers have been a touch on the safe and dull side recently. Probably the biggest parts of the surprise were how cheap they were selling this beer at the Keyaki festival and the fact that it was even available. Normally the bottles are expensive and go straight to the US. This was much nice than a lot of the US sours I’ve tried this year and was even reaching for Belgian levels. Let’s hope their regular beers get a bit more exciting.
Omnipollo Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout
One of those beers that feels wrong, but tastes so nice. Not sure how many I could have, but this was really delicious even though it sounded a bit gimmicky. Will have to look out for their latest stuff.
De la Senne bottles
As I alluded to above, I’ve got this thing about drinking beers in appropriate locations. It really adds to the experience I feel. On my summer trip to Belgium I was lucky enough to run into a whole load of new seasonals from De La Senne, one of my favourite breweries. No trip to Brussels is complete without at least a few Zinnebirs, but this time I also got to try their Bruxellensis, Birthday Session, Session 4, Sineke and Double Saison. Probably shouldn’t have drunk them all in the same evening but when the chance is there, you’ve got to take it.
This totally came out of nowhere for me. I wasn’t expecting it to be so good. Weizenbock is a style that I like but I’m not wild about, but this one was just mind-blowingly nice. Shonan make some good stuff and kind of get forgotten sometimes. I also really enjoyed their Barrel Aged Belgian Stout and some of their single hop IPAs have been great too.
Siren Barrel Aged Shattered Dream
A bottle I brought back from the UK early this year. I’m just picking this beer to represent my love for Siren’s stuff. I think they are definitely at the forefront of the UK scene, making interesting and often delicious stuff. Not everything has been a hit for me, but the majority have. I should also mention that they have excellent customer service, perfectly sorting out a problem I had with an order from them, even though it was by no means their fault. Cheers Siren!