Fish on new Yebisu “happy” beer cans changes colour when chilled

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RocketNews 24: (by Oona McGee)

In Japan, even beer cans have cute details.

Yebisu is one of Japan’s oldest beer brands, dating all the way back to 1887. Its well-known label features one of Japan’s Seven Lucky gods, Ebisu, the god of good luck, fishermen, and the ocean, who appears with a fishing rod in his right hand and a large red tai sea bream either tucked under his left arm or or dangling from his line.

And joining Ebisu for a limited time over the New Year period is a giant sea bream that changes from white to pink when chilled below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The reason for the color-changing fish is all to do with bringing good luck, as Ebisu is known to do. Sea Bream, or tai in Japanese, is an impoortant component of traditional osechi New Year’s meals and is often eaten on festive occasions. Tai symbolises good fortune, both for its lucky red colouring and because tai forms part of the word medetai, which means happy or auspicious in Japanese.

▼ Rather than a bright red tai, the cans feature a large, pink “Sakura Tai”, which the company says is a good omen designed to bring joy and happiness.

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We’re not sure if it’s the lucky fish on the can or the liquid refreshment inside that brings the joy; perhaps it’s a combination of both! The company recommends drinking the beer at 4 to 6 degrees Celsius, which is what it will get down to after five to six hours in the fridge.

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Called the “Yebisu Medetai Can” or “Yebisu Happy Can”, these will be available around the country from today, 22 December.

Japan’s desire to preserve youth continues with collagen and protein fortified “anti-aging beer”

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Audrey Magazine:

The desire to preserve one’s youth or to achieve one’s ideal of physical perfection is now in full swing more than ever. Although plastic surgery is more common in Asia, I can see our fair share in my own backyard. With the recent viral Kylie Jenner lip challenge, it makes me think how much more obsessed society is becoming to look like the celebrities they admire (even though many of them are anything but admirable).

Recently, we showed you Japan and Korea’s beauty trends to achieve a younger look. However, makeup and beauty products are simply not enough. It seems that Japan is quite adamant about maintaining a youthful appearance because now, you can find anti-aging properties in their beer.

Japanese brewery, Suntory, produced a new beer called “Precious.” It contains collagen, a protein that is believed to contain anti-aging properties. This protein is what gives skin elasticity and it decreases as we get older; this is why we get wrinkles and our skin isn’t as… perky (yikes). Japanese women believe that using and ingesting collagen products will make their wrinkles magically disappear. Quite a smart move there, Suntory brewery.

There has yet to be studies that prove this beer’s anti-aging claims are true, but it’s certainly a smart marketing gimmick to attract women. I’m not sure if I buy into Suntory’s claims, but since it’s beer, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

Courtesy of fooddiggity.com.

Bottle-blowing meets the sounds of sushi in The Bottle Boys’ new ad for Kirin

The Bottle Boys are a five-piece band from Copenhagen, who shot to fame last year after performing ‘Billie Jean’ using nothing but (a large number of) beer bottles. And now they’ve been snapped up by Kirin Ichiban, in a slick production that sees them team up with Iron Chefs to record a track blending their musical bottle-playing with the sounds of sushi.

In the two-minute video, the musicians play eleven bottles each.

Keita Suzuki’s “Fujiyama” glass, where Mt. Fuji appears when you fill it with beer

The perfect synthesis of a national symbol with a national philosophy, the Fujiyama Glass by of Product Design Center is what happens when you combine the iconic Mt. Fuji with kawaii, or cuteness. Designed for the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015, filling the Fujiyama glass with beer forms a tiny snow-capped mountain with the head of froth crowning its apex, changing colors to reflect the mountain at different times of day depending on the beer.

To be showcased in the “Beauty as Unfinished Business” exhibition at the biennale from March 12 onwards, the glass sells for ¥3,776 JPY, which is the exact height in meters of Mt. Fuji above sea level.

Taste Test: Sankt Gallen Sakura cherry blossom beer

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RocketNews 24: (by Casey Baseel)

After three months of cold weather, I’m ready for spring. Coincidentally, after a long week of work, I’m ready for a beer.

Lucky me, these two desires have dovetailed perfectly in the form of Kanagawa Prefecture microbrewer Sankt Gallen’s newest offering, made with the petals of the harbinger of Japanese spring, cherry blossoms. So strap on your drinking caps, because it’s time for the sakura beer taste test!

While Sankt Gallen Sakura can be ordered here directly from the brewer, you can also find it in select grocers and liquor stores. The Tokyu Store at Hiyoshi Station on the Toyoko Line (which runs between Toyoko Line’s Shibuya and Yokohama) had the special beer in stock on February 24, the day of its release.

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At 464 yen (US $3.95) a bottle, the cherry blossom beer is a little more expensive than major brands like Asahi or Kirin, but perfectly in line with what you’ll usually pay for microbrew beers in Japan. Actually, in the eyes of the law, it’s not even a beer, buthapposhu. While that designation usually gets slapped on low-malt, low-quality alcoholic beverages in Japan, in the case of Sankt Gallen Sakura, the classification seems to be strictly a result of it being made with sakura petals and leaves. Since these aren’t standard beer ingredients, for legal purposes, the brew gets classified as happoshu instead of beer .

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While the brew’s happoshu status is listed in the fine print, you’ll find “Sweets Beer” writ large on the label. That’s because the true flavor inspiration for Sankt Gallen Sakura is the traditional Japanese confectionary called sakura mochi, a dollop of sweet red beans wrapped in a thin, sweet rice cake, which is in turn wrapped in an edible sakura leaf.

▼ Sakura mochi, in non-beer form

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▼ The cap is not a twist-off, by the way.

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Sankt Gallen Sakura pours up without much head, and if you prefer drinking beer to chewing foam you can pretty much eliminate it from your glass entirely. The color is unique, in that it’s golden without being particularly yellow. As a matter of fact, it almost looks like some varieties of green tea, which is appropriate considering the Japanese inspiration for its flavor.

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One common element between the three Sankt Gallen brews I’d tried before the cherry blossom beer is a heavy bitterness. On its website, the brewer claims the sakura beer is less harsh that its usual offerings, and that’s definitely true, although there’s still more bitterness here than in, say, a bottle of Asahi Super Dry. Sadly, there’s no cherry blossom aroma to the beverage, and truth be told, initially the special ingredients don’t seem to affect the flavor very much either.

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After the liquid washes over your taste receptors, though, there’s a subtle but lingering sweet saltiness that spreads out from the center of your tongue. While it doesn’t, by any means, scream “Japanese dessert,” the sensation should be familiar to those who’ve eaten sakura mochi.

At the finish, there’s a crisp but not unpleasant bitterness that hits the back of your throat. Overall, there’s a lot of character to Sankt Gallen Sakura. One of its most intriguing characteristics is that, in contrast to the sharp sensations of bitterness that bookend its flavor profile, it’s got a very light mouth feel, something you’d generally associate with a less flavorful beer.

It’s usually been my experience that combining desserts with beer worsens them both, as though the universe is punishing you for asking for too much pleasure in one sitting. That’s not necessarily true with Sankt Gallen Sakura and sakura mochi, though. Maybe it’s because of its light mouth feel, it stays drinkable even when alternating sips of beer and bites of sweets, although doing so dulls the beverage’s more unique flavor components a bit.

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When all is said and done, how does the drinking experience compare to that of last year’s Mint Chocolate Stout? Well, remember that post-tasting snapshot above? Here’s the one for Sankt Gallen Sakura.

Sort of like a cherry blossom viewing party, Sankt Gallen Sakura isn’t necessarily something you’d want to experience every day. But as a unique change of pace for a special occasion once or twice a year?

Definitely.

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Matcha (green tea) beer is a thing in Japan

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RocketNews 24:

The history of beer – man’s most delicious way of getting inebriated – is long and winding, with many fad flavors and failed attempts at new brewing methods. We’ve seen beer infused with marijuana (failure), blueberry beer (failure), wheat beer (resounding success), even chocolate beer (success by virtue of having chocolate in it).

Until now though, we’d never heard of the surprisingly intuitive combination of beer and matcha. Looking back, it makes so much sense: two complementary bitter flavors, combined to create an appealing, marbled green-colored beverage that St. Patrick would have loved if he hadn’t, in reality, been a total prude.

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The matcha even fluffs up the beer foam for a beverage with a rich, velvety head that borders on physically impossible to stop drinking.

While this ingenious beer does come pre-bottled, it’s also deceptively simple to make at home, provided you have access to some decent matcha powder: All it takes is about a half teaspoon of matcha powder dissolved in a half-glass of warm water. Fill the glass the rest of the way with a non-faux beer of your choice and, if you’re not totally inept at even the simplest of recipes, you should end up with a richly marbled matcha beer cocktail.

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The drink is catching on at bars and restaurants in Japan, especially in the Kyoto area, where it’s proving popular with women for its lower alcohol content and less bitter taste compared to draft beer.

Some Japanese Twitter users are already uploading pics of their home-made matcha beer creations, some of which have a mildly disturbing dark, brownish-green hue, indicating conservative use of matcha powder is key to this cocktail.

▼ Twitter user gracenaho’s slightly off-putting home-made version.

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Why not give this one a try and let us know how it goes in the comments? We’ll just play it safe and buy the bottled stuff, thank you.

▼ A six-pack of matcha beer from Nagoya brewery, Kinshachi

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Sriracha Stout: A brand new spicy beer from Rogue Ales

Rogue Sriracha Stout

Laughing Squid:

 

Rogue Ales, the Newport, Oregon brewery that’s known for its unconventional ales, ciders and sodas, has created a brand new Sriracha Stout, a spicy brew certain to win the hearts of those cerevisaphiles with a fondness for “Rooster Sauce.”

ROGUE Sriracha Hot Stout Beer, made from Huy Fong original hot chili sauce and sun ripened Rogue Farms ingredients, is ready to drink with soups, sauces, pasta, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein, or anything you’d like to wash down with a spicy kick.