If you can’t get enough of Japan, or just happen to be the indecisive type, this mix of Yebisu Beer and Kyoto green tea is for you.
While it’s not as internationally well-known as Asahi, Kirin, or its corporate parent Sapporo, those who’ve had the pleasure of drinking Japan’s Yebisu Beer will tell you that it’s an extremely satisfying brew. Often priced about 50 yen (US$0.43) higher than its competitors, the 100-percent malt Yebisu bills itself as “a small luxury,” and it’s one that’s definitely worth splurging on.
While you can buy Yebisu in convenience stores and supermarkets across Japan, the company also manages a chain of casual Yebisu Bars.
Right now, select Yebisu Bar locations have made their signature beer even more luxurious by combining it with high-quality matcha green tea.
The green tea beer cocktail is officially called the Matsuri. While that’s usually the Japanese word for “festival,” Yebisu Bar write the Matsuri’s name by combining the first kanji character in matcha, 抹, with the kanji 里, pronounced “ri” and meaning “village,” producing something akin to “home of green tea.” It’s a fitting moniker, since the Matsuri is made by combining Yebisu Beer with green tea made with leaves grown in Kyoto’s Uji City, Japan’s most renowned matcha-producing region.
After asking the bartender for a Matsuri (which is priced at 750 yen), we could hear the sounds of a tea whisk delicately splashing as he prepared our drink. Each measure of tea is freshly prepared when an order is placed, and the glass that was placed in front of us had a frothy, pale green head atop its deeply verdant liquid.
As we lifted the glass to our lips, the fragrant, enticing aroma of freshly whisked matcha rose to our greet us. We took a sip, and found that the bitter accents of the Yebisu Beer blended magnificently with the similar flavor notes of the green tea, with the result at once sophisticated yet soothing.
Feeling just a bit hungry, we asked the bartender to recommend a pairing for the drink. He suggested something with a strong flavor, like the bar’s chorizo, and the combination was extremely palate-pleasing.
Currently, the Matsuri is available at only two Yebisu Bar locations, one in Kyoto’s Yodobashi Camera superstore and the other in Osaka at Kansai Airport’s Terminal 1. It’s just the thing to slake your thirst after a long day of temple-hopping, or if you want to experience two of Japan’s great flavors in a single beverage before you fly out of the country.
Yebisu Bay (Kansai Airport branch) / YEBISU BAR（関西国際空港T1店）
Address: Osaka-fu, Sennan-gun, Dajiri-cho, Senshu Kukonaka Terminal 1 Building
Open 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Yebisu Bar (Kyoto Yodobashi branch) / YEBISU BAR（京都ヨドバシ店）
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Karasuma Shichijo Kudaru Higashi Shiokoji 590-2
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
[ Read in Japanese ]