Japan Eats

What we’re drinking: Delirium Christmas

Delirium Christmas

Oh look, the pink elephant is ice skating. Deja vu.

Drank this beauty this past weekend at my local haunt, Duke. Delirium Christmas, also commonly labeled as Delirium Noël, comes with a few different versions of the pink elephant on the front.

Truth be told, I ended up drinking this Belgian strong dark ale two nights in a row. I got the pink elephant on a sled the second time around. I was informed that there is also a version of the label that has a bunch of elephants pulling a sleigh.

I know it tastes exactly the same, but I will not rest until I try that one as well. You have my word on that.

Oh, and as a little quiz, how many elephants are there on a typical Delirium serving glass?

Anyway, this beer was just as irresistible as I had anticipated. I’m a huge fan of Delirium Tremens (who isn’t?), and this seasonal ale did not disappoint.

The nose on this beer was lovely–a blend of fruity esters and a faint spiciness to bring everything together. The spice lingers and makes the phenolic aspects of this brew pleasant and generally not distracting. The dry finish is a nice relief and rounds out the experience almost perfectly.

This is another must-try from the Delirium lineup in my opinion although you may have to wait several more months to find it again.

In the meantime, just keep yourself busy with another wintery delight, atsukan.

What we’re drinking: Delerium Nocturnum at “Frigo” in Shinjuku

Ooooh, Chrissy like!

Ooooh, Chrissy like!

I’m a big fan of Delirium Tremens, so I thought I’d give this one a shot.

This bottle, the last one in stock, was perched happily in one of Frigo’s beer friges when I snatched it and subsequently put it over my knee.

I’m a big fan of Delirium Tremens, and this beer lived up to my expectations in every way, shape, and form.

Nocturnum isn’t as sweet as Tremens, and I noticed some very pleasant sour notes on the sides of my mouth as I was drinking it. The beer became considerably more enjoyable as it warmed a little, and all of it’s bold flavors began to mingle on the back of my tongue. I would love to have this Belgian Strong Dark Ale with dinner, perhaps alongside a nice, fat steak. As one might expect, this beer checks in at 8.5% on the “where am I, and how did I get here?” scale.

Shinjuku is definitely not the easiest part of town to find anything other than the usual suspects as far as beer goes, so many thanks to Frigo for bringing some nice Belgian and German beers to a wider audience!

What we’re drinking: Red Rocket Ale

Red Rocket Ale

Bear Republic's American (formerly Scottish) Red Ale

I’m a big fan of hopped-up brews, and Bear Republic’s Red Rocket Ale definitely does the trick.

This American Red comes through with bark and bite in equal quantities. The Cascade hops just waft off the crown of the beer after it’s been poured. I partook of this beer at my local bar and it was enjoyed in an imperial pint glass. I shall seek and drink another very soon.

This brew clocks in at about 6% on the hydrometer (the magical beer buoy), and I found it to be a very, very well-balanced example of what an American Red Ale should be. Loved the latticework of suds left on the inside of glass as the ale steadily found its way into my gut.

What we’re drinking: Trappistes Rochefort 8

A Belgian Dark Ale for the ages.

A Belgian Dark Ale for the ages.

I had a very nice time drinking this bottle of Trappistes Rochefort 8 before heading home from my local bar.

This Belgian Dark is thick and creamy, and it has a pretty good story to tell if you take some time to stick your honker down in the glass (apologies if ‘honker’ translates as a body part other than the nose in some countries).

This beer, if memory serves, clocks in at about 9% on the alcoholometer, so drink slowly.

I’m not a huge, huge Belgian drinker (yet), but I definitely liked this beer. It was definitely sweet, but the taste was very complex and altered its approach as it warmed.

I would definitely recommend trying a bottle of the TR8 if you find it. I’m now looking to get my hands on the TR10 because I’ve never had it before (that I can recall).

What we’re drinking: Abbot Ale at “Frigo”

One of Greene King brewery's best known offerings.

One of Greene King brewery's best known offerings.

Never had this beer on tap before (I’ve tried it in a can), but Frigo in Shinjuku had it when I was there. Frigo is a very cool, dark, wooden basement bar that has a huge cooler of pricey, but excellent beer. You can go up and grab exactly what you want to drink. It’s comforting.

Or you can do what I did and stick with the 6-10 beers that they have on tap. Abbot Ale is an amber-colored (slightly orange?) English Pale Ale that has some sweetness to it. The head retention (stop giggling, children) is quite good, and there’s some very interesting biscuit-like maltiness going on in this beer.

I’ll definitely have another one of these the next time I see it on tap. And now I’m craving another one of Greene King’s famous libations, Old Speckled Hen.

What we’re dinking: Cruzcampo at “España” in Shinjuku

Cruzcampo with a slimmed-down red-hatted cheery guy.

Cruzcampo with a slimmed-down red-hatted cheery guy on the label.

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.