beer

We try Japan’s most exclusive beer at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka【Taste test】

We try Japan’s most exclusive beer at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka【Taste test】

In recent years, Japan’s gotten pretty into craft brewing. A few of the more prominent brands can be tracked down at specialty liquor stores in major cities like Tokyo, but many smaller outfits don’t have anything close to a national distribution network. For example, if you’re in the mood for a nice Doppo or Miyajima Beer, you’re looking at a trip out to Okayama or Hiroshima, respectively.

Still, most Japanese microbrews aren’t too hard to get your hands on, as long as you’re in the city, or at least the prefecture, where they’re made. Recently, though, we tried what might be the most exclusive beer in Japan, which is served in one place only, inside the U.S. naval base in the city of Yokosuka.

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We fly straight to Tokyo’s newest Buffalo wing and craft beer joint

We fly straight to Tokyo’s newest Buffalo wing and craft beer joint

Back in high school, one weekend I went to eat at Denny’s with a group of classmates. One of them ordered Buffalo wings, and even though that’s exactly what the waitress brought him, he immediately sent them back, protesting, “Hey, these are chicken wings!”

I’m still baffled by his reaction. Did he really think there was some rare breed of buffalo, which not only had sprouted wings, but was being sourced for side orders at one of the cheapest restaurants in America? For everyone else at the table, the fact that we’d been attending San Dimas High for years and still hadn’t had any Bill and Ted-style time-travelling adventures had already hammered home the fact that life isn’t always filled with magic and wonder, but apparently our finicky friend’s dreams wouldn’t die so easily.

For that matter, shouldn’t everyone be able to get excited about a plate of chicken wings? The RocketNews24 team sure can, which is why we recently checked out a new Tokyo eatery, Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo.

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We visit Kyoto’s monk bar for some spiritual spirits

We visit Kyoto’s monk bar for some spiritual spirits

Many visitors to Kyoto find themselves overcome with a sense of tranquility. Even for people who aren’t Buddhists themselves, there’s just something soothing about being around so many temples and their stoic monks.

You know what else a lot of people find relaxing? A nice cold beer! So when we recently found ourselves in Japan’s former capital and looking for a calming presence, we decided to make it a double by going to a bar run by a genuine monk.

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Pork skewers, spicy fish cakes, and beer backpacks – We look for baseball grub at Nagoya Dome

Pork skewers, spicy fish cakes, and beer backpacks – We look for baseball grub at Nagoya Dome

Even though she grew up in Nagasaki, when it comes to baseball our Japanese-language correspondent Aya cheers for Nagoya’s Chunichi Dragons. Sure, the Softbank Hawks, who play out of Fukuoka, would be closer to her home town, but ever since Aya’s Dragon-loving friend took her to her first baseball game at Nagoya Dome, she’s been pulling for the serpentine team.

The Dragons have given their fans plenty of memories over the years, with the sweetest being the club’s Japan Series championship in 2007. But do they also provide a tasty meal at their home stadium?

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Rainy season blues, go away! Bring us summer (and beer) right away!

Rainy season blues, go away! Bring us summer (and beer) right away!

The rainy season has cometh! Spring was but a brief reprieve from the stinging cold of winter, and now Japan cowers beneath its umbrellas trying to escape the rain, knowing all too well that the humidity, however, cannot be escaped from.

It seems like the best way to chase away these rainy season blues is with a nice crisp beer, and RocketNews24 has a found a great place where you can do just that. It’s really close to our main offices in Tokyo, so sit back and plan your next happy hour, at Vector Beer!

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Enjoy the perfect glass of beer anytime, anywhere with the “Premium Beer Server GOKUREI”!

Enjoy the perfect glass of beer anytime, anywhere with the “Premium Beer Server GOKUREI”!

Do you love nice, cold beer? If, like us, you’re not averse to enjoying a frosty glass of beer now and then (if not more often), then this gadget may be something you’d want to check out. Takara Tomy A.R.T.S, a subsidiary of major Japanese toy and children’s products manufacturer Takara Tomy, proudly presents the super-cool “Premium Beer Server GOKUREI“. While a beer server may not exactly seem like a conventional product to come out of a toy company, the GOKUREI (literally meaning “extreme cool”) will ensure that you can have the perfect glass of beer at anytime, wherever you are!

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Chiba craft brewery releases unfortunately named “Immigrant Pilsner” for sale nationwide

Chiba craft brewery releases unfortunately named “Immigrant Pilsner” for sale nationwide

As a two-party democracy, the United States can be a fickle place for marketers. Republicans and Democrats are so different ideologically that certain words and phrases on your product label or in your ad campaign are practically guaranteed to alienate half of the market; or, if you’re especially unlucky, all of it. Take the word “immigrant,” for example – it’s a loaded word that will make Republicans shun your product believing that it advocates rights for immigrants (Remember, this is the same party whose leaders sometimes suggest in all seriousness building a moat – complete with cartoonish man-eating alligators – around the US to keep illegals out), while Democrats might see the word “immigrant” on a product and suspect some type of labor exploitation going on.

Luckily, Americans – and Japanese – of all stripes are united in their love of beer, so Chiba, Japan’s Loco Beer brewery’s rendition of an old American beer recipe, originally brewed by German immigrants, gets a pass from American expats and Japanese consumers alike on the unfortunate naming of its new Immigrant Pilsner craft beer.

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We try Wazen, Suntory’s new beer specially designed to drink with Japanese food

We try Wazen, Suntory’s new beer specially designed to drink with Japanese food

Eating and drinking are two of our favorite necessary life functions, since they’re both so much more fun than sleeping and breathing. So when we heard, back in January, about a new beer from Suntory that’s specially designed to go well with Japanese food, our three months of anxious waiting until it was scheduled to go on sale started right away.

Well, spring is finally here, and we’ve just recently experienced the joys of stepping outside without an overcoat and admiring the cherry blossoms, so now it’s time for the last item on our checklist of vernal pleasures, as we sample a can of Suntory’s new Japan-centric brew, the all-malt Wazen.

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George Clooney appears in Kirin beer ad, sounds a bit like Batman when he speaks Japanese

George Clooney appears in Kirin beer ad, sounds a bit like Batman when he speaks Japanese

As we’ve seen before, Hollywood stars who ordinarily wouldn’t be seen dead in a commercial in their homeland for fear of damaging their reputation as a serious actor aren’t quite so shy when it comes to commercials in Japan. With Japanese companies eager to push stacks of cash stars’ way in exchange for endorsing their products, occasionally a big-name actor will pop up on billboards over the famous Shibuya scramble intersection and on primetime TV.

This week, smirking silver fox George Clooney follows in Leonardo DiCaprio‘s footsteps by lending his face to a Japanese commercial, in this case one for Kirin Brewery Company’s Green Label brand of beer. Clooney is no stranger to ads even at home, but Kirin’s commercial – which sees the actor painting a house and communicating with a small bird – is kind of an odd one, partly because it doesn’t have an awful lot to do with beer, and partly because, to our ears at least, Clooney appears to be channeling Christian Bale’s Batman for his single word of Japanese dialogue.

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Asahi puts a new twist(er) on draft beer

Asahi puts a new twist(er) on draft beer

Japan’s most popular alcoholic drink is beer—and now it’s easier than ever to serve perfectly! True to form for a country known for automation, Japanese brewer Asahi has released the Tornado: a machine that automatically fills cups with beer. Rather than pouring, the spigot connects to the bottom of the specially-formed cup, filling it from the bottom up. As it fills, the foam swirls, resembling a—you guessed it—tornado!

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Kuos Beer promises all the flavor of beer without any of the other fun stuff

Kuos Beer promises all the flavor of beer without any of the other fun stuff

If you’re not a fan of watery beer, then the new beer Kuos is definitely not for you. It’s about as watery as a beer could possibly get. In fact, although it’s a beer by name, Kuos is better described as a carbonated water with the pleasant bouquet of delicious ale.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to cut back on alcohol, carbs, and/or calories without loosing the beer drinking experience then Kuos may be perfect for you since it contains absolutely none of those things.

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Pouring beer into a very hot frying pan is surprisingly interesting

Pouring beer into a very hot frying pan is surprisingly interesting

Have you ever seen what happens when you pour beer onto a strongly heated frying pan? Probably not since few people are willing to waste it in such a way. But if you did you might have been surprised at the magical little show that takes place.

In the following video we can see that the beer takes the form of little spheres that seem to float over the surface of the pan. In fact, they are floating as a result of something called the Leidenfrost effect.

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Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

The basic idea of going to a cafe is that it’s a place to relax for an hour or so. You can sit down and have a cup of coffee, but eventually you’re going to get hungry, smelly, or sleepy. Sooner or later you’ll need to leave and go somewhere else for a real meal, hot bath, and good night’s sleep.

Unless, of course, you stop by a unique cafe in Saitama Prefecture, which not only has luxurious Japanese-style bathing facilities, but just about everything you need for a comfortable lifestyle.

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Bar with all-you-can drink beer and sake + no time limit = limitless bliss

Bar with all-you-can drink beer and sake + no time limit = limitless bliss

In my time in Japan, I’ve been asked to leave numerous drinking establishments. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. It wasn’t because I was causing a disturbance (well, except for that one time in college), or because I was charming all the women and not leaving any for the other male customers (well, except for….wait, no, that really didn’t ever happen).

The polite requests for me to exit bars come from the wonderful system called nomi hodai, where you pay a flat fee and are served as much booze as you like. The standard time limit is two hours, although some places have budget priced 90-minute plans, and others are more generous with three-hour deals. It’s always a downer when the wait staff tells you your time’s up, but after all, they have to cut the customers off at some point, right?

Not at a new bar in Tokyo, where paying the entrance fee gets you an unlimited amount of sake and beer with no time limit.

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Somehow, underage drinking in Japan is about to get even easier

Somehow, underage drinking in Japan is about to get even easier

I’ve never been bothered by being asked for proof of age when buying beer. Maybe it’s because even when I was 16 I apparently already looked old enough that strangers in convenience store parking lots would ask me to buy a six pack for them, but I never took a clerk asking to see my ID as an insult. I simply accepted it as part of the societal dance necessary to procure my beloved barley juice.

Some drinkers in Japan, though, take offense at being asked for proof that they’re not minors. The Aeon Group, one of Japan’s largest retailers, has responded with a generous change in policy, and will no longer ask certain customers for confirmation of age, despite the fact that Japan’s underage drinking prevention is already ridiculously easy to circumvent.

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Mint chocolate beer sounds great, but how does it taste? We find out

Mint chocolate beer sounds great, but how does it taste? We find out

Every year at Valentine’s Day, a slew of limited-edition chocolates are rolled out in Japan, where following the local custom, women give gifts to men. Unfortunately, while there are indeed plenty of guys with a sweet tooth, few of them really want candies shaped like butterflies and rosebuds.

Thankfully, there are a handful of more masculine alternatives, such as the Final Fantasy chocolates we recently introduced you to. But you know what’s even more manly than a video game about a dude killing monsters with a giant sword while his hot martial artist girlfriend cheers him on? Booze. Which is why today we’re knocking back a mint chocolate beer.

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Foreign residents pick their favorite snacks to pair with Japanese beer

Foreign residents pick their favorite snacks to pair with Japanese beer

A few years ago, I was hanging out with a friend in Tokyo. Being recently married meant that for the first time in several years I was living in an apartment more spacious and comfortable than a bunker, and I invited my buddy back to my place for a beer.

I called my wife to give her a heads-up that I was bringing home a guest, and when we arrived, I was surprised to see she’d gone down the block to the store and picked up a selection of snacks for our impromptu drinking session. In hindsight, this really shouldn’t have been so unexpected, as beer is almost always accompanied by food in Japan.

Our memories are a little hazy, but we seem to remember being taught, “When in Rome, drink as the Romans.” Taking this to heart, recently a group of foreign residents in Japan shared their favorite munchies to pair with Japanese beer.

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Suntory to release new beer designed specifically for consumption with Japanese food

Suntory to release new beer designed specifically for consumption with Japanese food

There’s been a lot of research into the mystery of umami, the mild, pleasing savoury flavour that’s said to exist at the heart of Japanese cuisine. Often referred to as “the fifth taste”, alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter, umami was first discovered by a Japanese professor and only officially recognised as a proper scientific term in 1985. Now, almost thirty years later, the delicate flavour is finally set to meet its perfect partner in a beer called Wazen (lit. Japanese meal). Due for release on April 8, the beer is being billed as “the beer for Japanese food”.

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Does Japan really need company drinking parties?

Does Japan really need company drinking parties?

Among the Japanese language’s many unique loanword mashups is nominikeshon, a hybrid of “nomi / drinking” and the English “communication.” Nominikeshon is a term that gets applied to the common Japanese business practice of workers from the same company going out together for a beer (or six) after work, and hopefully strengthening their bond along the way.

But even if you’ve technically punched out, if you have to spend time with your boss, with a large chunk of it used to talk shop, couldn’t you make the argument that you’re still working? In which case shouldn’t you get paid for drinking with your coworkers?

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How to make good use of flat, leftover beer from your Christmas party

How to make good use of flat, leftover beer from your Christmas party

Ever had the problem of undrunk beer sitting round wastefully in bottles, cans or glasses after a house party? Sigh. It’s flat, warm and disgusting. You could play a hearty round of morning-after beer roulette, the thrilling game where if you find a half-empty vessel, you challenge someone to rock-scissors-paper and the winner downs it in one (possible floating cigarette butt and all).

But here’s the beer problem solved more efficiently—waste not, want not. Here are some creative and unexpected uses for old beer that folks came up with in Japan!

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