Host Christopher Pellegrini discusses summer beers with the Baird Nakameguro Taproom’s Marco McFarren.
Baird Beer’s Nakameguro Taproom is a shining beacon for beer-o-philes around Tokyo and is doing its best to broaden that group, not only through events such as tastings and seminars, but through serving some of the best beer in the country.
There are currently 28 beers on tap, all but a few Baird’s own. The few guest beers are also high-quality microbrews. Most beers are 900 yen a pint, with some at 1000 yen and some in slightly differently-sized glasses (depending on type). Smaller sizes and tasters are available. Read more
Christopher Pellegrini is joined by Teruya Hori of Laff International.
Happy New Year! In the final edition of our four-part NCBF 2010 series, Japan Booze Blind’s Christopher Pellegrini interviews one of Baird Brewing’s go-to engineers, Mr. Teruya Hori. Hori-san offers a unique perspective because his job is to make sure that beer is stored and poured under the best conditions possible.
While talking with us, he hinted at a challenge that was not mentioned in the first three parts of this interview series. Politely put: most bars and restaurants in Japan have little more than a vague understanding of how to care for and serve draft beer. Indeed, Japan Eats has seen kegs sitting out in the sun on landings and back balconies across this fair city. Granted, they’re normally cylinders of run-of-the-mill beer, but it is easy to imagine what might happen to a craft beer’s quality if it is forced to endure consecutive Tokyo summer days unprotected. Just like we heard back in part one of this series, “Bad Beer is the Enemy” rings true in the overall message of this interview as well.
Host Christopher Pellegrini discusses fall beers with the Baird Nakameguro Taproom’s Marco McFarren.
Following up on our Summer Beers episode shot earlier this year at the Nakameguro Taproom, Baird’s Marco McFarren kindly invited us back for a quick run-through some of their maltier selections.
In this video Marco introduces Christopher to Big Red Machine, Angry Boy Brown Ale and their Baltic Porter, all of which are currently on tap at the Nakameguro and Harajuku Taprooms. As the mercury continues to fall in Tokyo, these richer ales match the weather outside as perfectly as the summer ales did back in July. Read more
This Tokyo Swallows Baseball Beer surprised me with its aroma. It reminded me, ever so slightly, of “Duchesse”, that beautiful Belgian ale that is becoming increasingly easy to find in Tokyo.
Poured straight from the bottle into a pint glass, this beer has a hazy straw color to it and a thin head that disappears quickly.
This is a light-bodied beer that has a bit of tanginess as it travels towards the back of your mouth. And the tanginess hangs around for a little bit at the finish. This would definitely be an acceptable brew for a hot summer day. It gives you a lot more to think about on the palate than the typical Japanese light beer while preserving the expected refreshingness and ease of drinking.
Weighing in at a rather modest 4% alcohol, this signature brew was a present from my friend Kyoko, who also entrusted me with this bubbly nihonshu not too long ago (click here for the full article.) According to the label, this beer is contract brewed by monster liquid libations producer, Kizakura, through an arrangement with classy Tokyo sake merchants (and Tokyo Swallows fans), Hasegawa Saketen.
The Japan Eats Glossary of Japanese Food and Beverage Terms is necessarily a work in progress. Here at Japan Eats we’re constantly adding to the list. If you would like to contribute or comment on any of the entries below, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that throughout the text, honorifics have been dropped for ease of use.
Agari 上がり – term used in sushi shops to refer to freshly poured tea, also used as a request to end the meal. By asking specifically for “agari“, the diner can also signal that he is done.
Aji 鰺 – horse mackerel; jack. Popular in a variety of styles, notably deep-fried, often as part of a bento.
Awamori 泡盛 – Okinawan firewater; a distilled spirit made from sugar cane, related to shochu, but often higher in alcohol content. Uses indica rice (rather than japonica) during production.
Basashi 馬刺し – horse meat sashimi, especially popular in Kyushu, in particular Kumamoto prefecture.
Bata-kon ramen バターコーン ラーメン – butter corn ramen.
Bento 弁当 – meal in a box often made at home for lunchtime consumption either at school or work. Generally consists of rice, pickled vegetables, and other items such as pork, hamburg, fried shrimp, etc. A large industry specializes in preparing and selling bento.
Cha kaiseki 茶懐石 – a simplified version of kaiseki-ryori, served at a tea ceremony.
Chashu チャーシュー – roast pork served with ramen. Usually sliced thinly. This is also the type of pork often used in the preparation of cha-han (fried rice). Also commonly served with a garnish as otsumami (snacks to accompany drinking).
Chanko nabe ちゃんこ鍋 – a hotpot traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers. There are many theories about what exactly makes nabe “chanko“, but one of the best is simply: sumo wrestlers eat it.
Choko 猪口 – small cup for drinking nihonshu (saké). Some of these, called kiki choko, are white with concentric blue circles on the bottom of the inside of the cup – the circles allow tasters to judge the color and clarity of the sake.
Daikon 大根 – long, white Japanese radish, served in a variety of ways year-round, but especially prevalent in winter cuisine, when it can be served as an element of oden or grated and served as a topping for a variety of dishes.
Dango 団子 – small food balls that are often made from wheat, millet or rice flour. The balls are steamed/boiled and then grilled after being dipped in a topping of some sort (such as soy sauce). Meat and fish can also be used to mack the balls, and they are usually deep-fried rather than being steamed/boiled.
Dengaku 田楽 – miso-based cuisine.
Depachika デパ地下 – lit. “under the department store”, the underground food section of a Japanese department store, usually consisting of two basement levels, the upper of which contains a variety of meats, prepared foods, bread, and more, with the lower level usually selling sweets or other luxuries. Depachika tend to deal in higher-range products.
Fugusashi 河豚刺し – fugu sashimi.
Gunkan maki 軍艦巻き – traditional type of sushi made up of nori, rice and soft topping such as roe or sea urchin. Also known as ‘battleship sushi’ (owing to their distinctive shape) gunkan maki are relatively easy to make.
Ichiban dashi 一番出汁 – primary dashi.
Inago稲子 - locust. Often cooked as tsukudani
Junmai ginｊo sake 純米吟醸酒 – high grade, pure rice sake, made only of rice polished to less than 60% of its original mass, koji, and water.
Kaitenzushi 回転寿司 – carousel sushi.
Kakiage 掻き揚げ – vegetables, especially onions, and sometimes small shrimp dipped in tempura batter before being fried.
Kamaboko 蒲鉾 – processed whitefish loaf with a firm, somewhat rubbery texture. Usually pink or yellow on the outside and white inside. Served in soups, including ramen, or on its own with shoyu or another sauce for dipping.
Kamameshiya 釜飯や – a restaurant serving kamameshi.
Kappou Ryoriya 割烹料理や – similar to ryotei, however restaurants have a counter to better observe the chef.
Katsuobushi kezuriki 鰹節削り器 – traditional wooden box plane, used for shaving thin strips of dried katsuobushi of off blocks. The shavings are collected in a drawer at the base of the box.
Katsuramuki 桂剥き – technique of cutting thin, continuous sheets of daikon.
Koji 麹 – mold (Aspergillus oryzae) used in the brewing of sake, which performs the role of yeast in brewing beer – it grows on steamed rice and produces the enzymes that break the starch down into fermentable sugars.
Kushiageya 串揚げや – an establishment serving kushiage. All standing kushiageya have become popular in recent years.
Mirugai 海松貝 – geoduck. A type of large clam distinguished by its long, meaty syphon, which extends well outside the shell. Most often served in soups or as sashimi.
Mirukuigai 海松貝 – alternative pronunciation of “mirugai“, geoduck.
Miso 味噌 – salty soy bean paste used in soups, stews, as a dressing, and more. It comes in variety of styles, the most common being white and red (aka-miso); the latter being especially popular in the Chubu region.
Misoshiru 味噌汁 – miso soup.
Moromi 諸味 – thick mash of cereal or cereal and soy bean left to undergo slow fermentation with bacteria, yeasts, and mold. Often used to refer specifically to the fermenting rice mash in the production of sake.
Moyashi もやし – bean sprouts, usually mung beans, but also soy beans. Often used in stir-fried dishes or as a topping for ramen.
Nabe 鍋 – Japanese hotpot, which consists of any kind of stock to which any variety of meats, seafood, or vegetables are added; esp. popular in winter. “Nabe” is also the Japanese word for a cooking pot.
Nanairo tougarashi 七色唐辛子 – Kanto-region equivalent for shichimi tougarashi, a chili powder mix featuring at least six added ingredients. Often sprinkled over nabe and noodles, the six additives can be anything from sesame seeds to shiso.
Nigari 苦汁 – magnesium chloride, used for making tofu.
Nikiri 煮きり – Kansai-style boiled mirin.
Odenya おでんや – establishment serving oden. Often, odenya take the form of street stands.
Ogura 小倉 – confectionery made with azuki beans.
Okonomiyakiya お好み焼きや – restaurant specializing in okonomiyaki.
Raayu ラー油 – spice-infused oil commonly used to add flavor to ramen or gyoza or, in it’s chunkier form (including bits of pepper, etc.), used a topping for a variety of meat or starchy dishes.
Ramenya ラーメンや – restaurant specializing in ramen.
Robatayaki 炉端焼き – a type of izakaya characterized by an open hearth at which vegetables and seafood are cooked. The customers sit around a central serving area, allowing them to indicate what they would like to order.
Sake 1 酒 – Japanese word for alcohol, but used outside of Japan to refer to nihonshu, a brewed rice drink with an alcohol content a little stronger than the average wine. The word is pronounced /sah-kay/.
Shabu shabu しゃぶしゃぶ – onomatopoeia for the sound of swishing thinly-sliced meat (usually high-grade beef) or vegetables through a pot of boiling water to quickly cook them. Also the name of the dish, which is especially popular in winter.
Shime 締め – the last course of meal. Used informal restaurants such as izakaya, not in formal dining situations.
Shichimi 七味 – short for shichimitogarashi, a powder made up of seven different spices (ground red pepper, white poppy seeds, dried mandarin peel, green nori, hempseeds, powdered Japanese pepper seeds and sesame seeds).
Shojin ryori 精進料理 – a vegetarian cuisine which was first developed in the Kyoto area of Japan. It is based mainly on rice, tofu, and fresh vegetables and is eaten by Buddhist monks (who are forbidden to include any fish, meat or eggs in their diets).
Sogi giri 削ぎ切り – diagonally cutting long vegetables, such as negi.
Souzai 惣菜 – Similar in meaning to okazu.
Sushiya 寿司や – restaurant serving sushi.
Sumeshi 酢飯 – sushi rice.
Takikomi gohan 炊き込みご飯 – Japanese rice dish seasoned with dashi and soy sauce along with mushrooms, vegetables, meat, or fish.
Tonkatsuya とんかつや – restaurant serving tonkatsu.
Toshi お通し – small dish provided as a starter in Japanese izakaya.
Tsukiji fishmarket 築地 – Tsukiji fishmarket is the largest wholesale fishmarket in the world. It is presently located on the western edge of Tokyo Bay, however the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced its intention to move the market east to Toyosu. The plan is highly controversial, not least because the Toyosu site is said to be contaminated.
Ume 梅 – The so-called “Japanese plum” is actually a relative of the apricot. Ume is a popular flavoring for rice and shochu (umeshu).
Yakitoriya やきとりや – a restaurant specializing in yakitori.
Yuba 湯葉 – tofu skin, made by boiling soy milk until a “skin” congeals on the surface. It is served fresh with dipping sauces, such as shoyu or used to wrap dim sum in Chinese cuisine. It also used to make faux “meat”, especially faux “chicken”.
The service at this Spanish restaurant leaves a little something to be desired, but the paella was definitely edible, and they have Cruzcampo!
Cruzcampo is what I drank out of ‘tubos’ (thin, tall glasses) in Sevilla, Spain when I used to live there. The fat red guy on the (old school) label always gives me that good ‘ole natsukashii feeling whenever I see him. Definitely a nice memory from one of my favorite periods of living thus far.
Granted, this beer can be had at many a Spanish-esque restaurant/bar in the Tokyo area, but “Espana” (about 200m from the south exit of JR Shinjuku station) is pretty easy to find.
This beer, as one would expect from a pilsener brewed in southern Spain, is a light, summer brew that will be appreciated by those accustomed to Japanese beer.