月別アーカイブ: 2019年4月

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April 23rd is Craft Beer Day in Japan!

April 23rd is Craft Beer Day in Japan!

The Beer Day Selection Committee, led by the Craft Beer Association, which made the soil of the growing beer culture fertile and helped it sprout, invited the public to submit Beer Day Selection applications. At the opening ceremony of the International Beer Cup on October 8, 1999, it was announced that April 23 will be the Craft Beer Day.

On this day in 1516, the “Reinheitsgebot” or “German Beer Purity Law” came into force, and breweries in Germany traditionally celebrate the “Day of German Beer” (National beer day) on April 23. The applicant who suggested this date noted that this is a historical date when beer was first defined in the whole world. Also, when spring is coming and Golden Week is just around the corner, it is a great season to drink refreshing beer!

History of Craft Beer in Japan

The strength of the craft beer scene is truly remarkable when you realize that the Japanese craft beer industry didn’t exist 25 years ago.

It was only in 1994 that the Japanese government softened the strict laws that governed the granting of brewing licenses. Before that, a brewery needed to be able to produce 2 million liters of beer each year to become licensed, which was achievable for industrial-sized breweries only. With the change in regulations, the lowest limit of annual beer production per one brewery was set to 60,000 liters,  thus allowing new smaller breweries to enter the market. It was like a breath of fresh air for beer lovers who were tired of the mass-produced lagers and pilsners on the store shelves – they could now enjoy many different styles such as IPAs, ales and stouts produced by smaller breweries.

The Echigo Brewery was the very first to open in Japan since the new law and they have been going strong in the world of beer ever since. The brewery is located in Niigata prefecture, which is the number one rice growing prefecture in Japan and home to the famous Koshihikari rice, a short grain rice regarded as the best quality and flavor in all of Japan. The brewery has high standards when selecting the Koshihikari rice to assure the superb flavor outcome.

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Recommended Drink

Echigo Koshihikari Beer is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice style lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery.

Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.

It is crisp and refreshing with smooth finish. Goes very well with Japanese food such as sushi. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavour, but it is not too overpowering.

 

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What do oranges, love and Japan all have in common?

What is Orange Day?

What do oranges, love and Japan all have in common? Well, usually nothing, unless it’s April 14th that is! A new holiday has emerged called, Orange Day and it’s spreading fast. It was started by citrus farmers, in 1994, in the Ehime Prefecture region of Japan. This holiday is not only a hay day for orange farmers but for other companies looking for a new market. Even Disney has made little gifts displaying Mickey’s famous ears in orange! There is also a drama series in Japan called “Orange Days” which aired in 2004.

On February 14, Japanese celebrate the romantic holiday Valentine’s Day by women giving their partners gifts, often homemade chocolates.

On March 14, White Day, men give their partners gifts. Some follow the tradition of “triple the return” by giving gifts that are about three times more costly than whatever they received on Valentine’s Day.

The Orange Day is a new day to express your love for each other together. On Orange Days, both people give gifts to each other – either oranges or orange colored gift.

You might be thinking what oranges have to do with love. First, orange trees produce beautiful white flowers which represent the bride’s purity. Also, the tree bears a lot of fruit and trees which display this are said to represent fertility and prosperity as well.

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Yuzu Umeshu is the perfect gift for Orange Day!

Surprise your loved ones with a bottle of yuzu umeshu on Orange Day!

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus lemon that is valued for its highly aromatic rind. The fruit is believed to be a hybrid of a papeda and a mandarin. Nakano BC Yuzu Umeshu is a unique blend of yuzu juice, which was extracted from fruits in Shikoku Island and umeshu liqueur. Kochi prefecture in Shikoku island is the number one producer of yuzu in Japan. This blend is sweet and refreshingly sour with a subtle bitterness.

It has a relatively low alcohol content which makes it easy to drink and can be enjoyed even by people who generally dislike alcohol.

Nakano BC Yuzu Umeshu is great as an aperitif with light meals such as salads, sandwiches or desserts. We also recommend pairing it with carpaccio and oily foods because of its refreshing taste. Drink well chilled or over ice!

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The Finest Sake from Kumamoto Prefecture

Kumamoto Prefecture is fruit heaven

Kumamoto is centrally located in the Kyushu region. With its famous Kumamoto Castle that has stood for a thousand years, the sweeping plains of Aso and many other famous sights, Kumamoto has drawn visitors from both within Japan and abroad, many of whom come to enjoy the abundant natural waters and dishes made from Kumamoto grown produce.

Although it suffered extensive damage because of the earthquake in 2016, Kumamoto has come back stronger than ever. With the largest domestic production of watermelons, plentiful varieties of mikan oranges, large sweet kosui pears, strawberries, grapes, chestnuts, kiwis and other seasonal fruits are abundantly available for visitors to enjoy.

One of the famous fruits of Kumamoto is amanatsu (sweet summer orange), grown in Ashikita area in Kumamoto. It is packed with honey creating a harmony between sour and sweet tastes. The natsumikan tree is believed to be genetically derived from the pomelo.

In 2006, it was the 50th anniversary of Amanatsu of Kumamoto Prefecture being shipped to the market for the first time, and it was decided by Japan Anniversary Association that April 1st will be Amanatsu Day.

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Kumamoto Shuzo Kenkyusho

While we’re on the subject of Kumamoto Prefecture, we would like to introduce an outstanding sake brewery from Kumamoto. Kumamoto Shuzo Kenkyusho has two faces. One as developer of Yeast No. 9, and other as a producer of fine quality sake brand named Kohro.

Founded in 1909 in the fine city of Kumamoto, the Kumamoto Shuzo Kenkyusho was set up as a collaborative project between sake brewers in the region, in the hope of improving sake quality. With the expertise of Chief Engineer Dr. Kinichi Nojiro – now known as “a genius in sake making”- new techniques were implemented and sake quality improved year upon year, rather like a fine wine. This finally resulted in KOHRO – widely considered to be a front-runner in the sake elite.

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KOHRO sake is made with the exquisite mineral water from the slopes of Mt. Aso

Kohro Tokubetsu Junmai

Kohro Tokubetsu (Special) Junmai is a unique sake option from Kumamoto Shuzo Kenkyusho made with distinctive ‘Shinriki’ rice. That is the reason why this sake is called “special” –  Shinriki rice is the original sake rice invented more than 100 years ago. Shinriki or “divine power rice” was thought to be extinct since the 1910-20s.  In 2006, it was resurrected with 5g worth of Shinriki rice using less than a handful of seeds.

The fragrance is very quiet but the flavour is clean and rich, with a good amount of acidity and minerals. It is a perfect accompaniment to light meals.

We invite you to try this sake from Kumamoto Prefecture which reflects the skillfulness of artisans well as the excellent quality of rice and water. Enjoy its exceptional aroma and rich taste.

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