Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beer Lecture

I love beer. In my town, there is a bar which serves over 100 kinds of beer but no other liquor. In addition, the beer master of the bar announced that he would hold a lecture for beer-novices this month. Why don't I apply for it?

In Japan, beer is in a unique situation. It is doubtlessly the most popular liquor. It is a kind of "unspoken rule" to order beer for the first in a pub with friends or co-workers - everybody does so. Even though beer is so popular, only lager beer is available at supermarkets or pubs in Japan, for example, Japanese brands, Budweiser and Heineken and so on. Other types of beer, for instance, stouts (like Guinness), pale ales (like Bass) are rare (these days, Guinness has become a little popular, but many pubs don't serve it.). Very popular but no variations - this is the beer world in Japan.

I didn't realize this situation with Japanese beer, until when I stopped in the bar "Beer Café barley" (which I mentioned above) and read the menu lists. I was astonished by the vast world of beer. After that, I wanted to expand my beer-experience and to learn more about drinking beer. It seems that some Japanese common thoughts of beer are incorrect, for example, the more colder beer is better it tastes. No sooner than I checked the notice of the lecture, I applied for it.

The lecture began at the bar with eight students. At the front half of the lecture, the beer master passed out a test to check our common knoeledge about beer. The test revealed that our understanding isn't the world's understanding of beer. For instance, beer consists of two kinds, normal and black. Also all beer is bitter. Many people believe it is good for the taste to chill a glass in freezer. When serving beer, it is proper that you pour 30% head and 70% beer in the glass. All of these Japanese common thougts are actually not proper practices to taste beer better. Such information is good knowledge for a beer-novice like me.

In the latter half of the lecture, of course there was a beer tasting. We tried five types of beer: (from right) pilsner, pale ale, weizen (wheat beer), stout and barley wine. Every type of beer has its own unique characteristic (please visit the links). The beer tasting has widened my beer world like when a man who has only traveled in his country begins to travel abroad. For the most part, knowledge makes your world wider and clearer. The theory applies well to my new passion for beer.