The flowers won’t be opening from their buds for a few more weeks, but you can crack open a bottle of this special craft brew right now.
According to this year’s forecast, Japan still has a month or two until the cherry blossoms turn the country into a beautiful pink-tinged wonderland. But while it’s too early to see the sakura, you can already experience them in beverage form. Starbucks, for example, has released multiple dessert drinks that make use of Japan’s most famous flower.
If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, however, Kanagawa Prefecture’s Sankt Gallen is happy to oblige. As of February 23, the craft brewer’s cherry blossom beer, called Sankt Gallen Sakura, is back on store shelves.
While the beer isn’t pink, it is made using cherry blossom petals and leaves sourced from the city of Ina in Nagano, one of the prefecture’s most famous cherry blossom-viewing spots (and also the town where Sankt Gallen gets the apples used in its apple cinnamon beer). In addition, the sakura beer is brewed with wheat germ, which combined with the other unique ingredients makes for a crisper, more refreshing beer than Sankt Gallen’s usual extra-hoppy offerings.
Sankt Gallen Sakura is available in supermarkets and liquor shops for 463 yen (US$4), and can also be ordered here directly from the brewer in bundles ranging in size from three to 24 bottles. The special brew will be available until early April, meaning you’ll be able to buy it through the peak sakura season in the Tokyo area.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where sakura and beer remain two of his favorite things.
[ Read in Japanese ]