Japan Eats

What We’re Drinking: “Tokyo Beer” by Tama no Megumi

This bottle conditioned beer by Ishikawa Brewery out near Haijima station in Western Tokyo is an easy step up from what one normally consumes by way of Japan’s macro-breweries.

I’m not sure how much my bottle was shaken, but the pour was pretty hazy and could be best described as having a murky straw hue to it. The off-white head was thin and disappeared quickly on my pour from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass.

The bottle was dated October, 2009. Not ideal, but within the realm of acceptability. Also of importance, it’s labeled as being 5.5% ABV.

Fresh out of the fridge, the mouthfeel on this beer was neither harsh nor special. It’s a medium-bodied brew that is perhaps a bit too shy on hoppiness, but at the same time balanced in terms of the light barley sweetness that highlights the start of the short trek from the front to the back of the palate. A few gulps later, once room temperature has started to assert its influence, a bit of breadiness starts to creep in and a bit of astringency (not unpleasant) colors the aftertaste.

This beer would benefit from a stronger hop backbone in my opinion, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. I suspect that, if you can get past the price tag, this beer will be popular with the Tokyo masses that wouldn’t mind something a little more complex than what is commonly found in the supermarket or convenience store cooler. Expect to pay around 400 yen for a half-liter bottle.