Japanese beer, probably being one of the most underrated of the world’s brews, is highly varied and is of very high quality. Unfortunately when people (not too familiar with Japan) think of Japanese beer, they think of Asahi super dry. Not that I have anything against Asahi, it’s just where Japanese beer begins, not where it ends.
For those who know me (and how dare you claim to know me!?!?) know that I like me some beer. Anytime the wife and I travel around Japan, we ALWAYS try the local brew, which there usually is. In Matsuyama it is Dogo beer-which is awesome and comes in 4 varieties; stout, amber, weizen and kölsch.
Every variety is very, very good, it doesn’t hurt that the brewery is a 2 min walk from Sen Guesthouse (has pretty remarkable sake also!)…It does cost about ¥550 a bottle ($7), which is fine if you are in a city for a day or 2 and feel like splurging on a sick brew.
For the habitual beer drinker though, I am squarely in that camp, ¥550 a bottle is a bit much; luckily there are great mass produced beers-my favorite being the premium varieties of Suntory and Ebisu (brewed by Sapporo). Ebisu makes a seasonal amber beer, 琥珀 beer, which I love. Also, round this time of year, both those produces make a black/stout beer. So I decided to have a (reverb voice start now) half and half showdown, featuring my favorite beers and there black/stout beer counterparts.
Round 1, Ebisu amber, and Ebisu Stout (in pictures):
It was probably the richest half-and-half I have ever drank. Extremely dark and creamy-the black beer was pretty over powering and covered up the flavor of the amber almost completely. It wasn’t unenjoyable, but sometimes mixing 2 good beers together does not create a great beer…
Round 2, premium half-and-half (Suntory premium malts, and Suntory premium malts stout):
Suntory premium malts is the beer we serve at Sen Guesthouse’s bar-in my opinion one of the best, and most consistent non-micro brew beers in Japan. Their seasonal black/stout beer is again, probably the best non-micro brew stout beer in Japan; rich and malty without being too sweet or overpowering.
Hands down winner in the show-down was the premium malts combo-frankly pretty surprised, I thought the Ebisu pair was going to be really good-and it was ok, the beers just didn’t mix too well. The Suntory combo was delicious and one of the best half-and-half I’ve ever had (way better than Bass/Guinness).
I dare any of you beeries out there to come up with a better half-and-half, as I myself plan to do in the near future (maybe a Dogo half-and-half…)