What? They’re raising taxes on low-malt beer by 10 yen? Cries of fury rang through the streets of Japan when the news hit, yet in May the day of reckoning finally came. But like nasty hangovers, the tax hike is something drinkers have just learned to live with. Beer taxes in Japan are high. If you pay 218 yen for a can of regular beer, 77.7 yen of that goes to Koizumi-san and his buddies in the Diet. And 32% of the price of low-malt beer also goes to taxes. The politicians, in turn, use the taxes for beer-drinking business entertainment ﾐ where’s the justice? There is no justice, but there may be options for the indignant beer drinker. One: move to a country with cheaper beer. Two: carbonate your mugi-cha (wheat tea). Three: learn to make beer at home. But as the summer heat turns on, you know you won’t be able to resist a frosty cold beer. Japan even has a long tradition of drinking on rooftop beer gardens in the summer. And we know how important keeping tradition is!
The Japanese love beer. At Japanese izakaya (pubs), nine of ten customers greet the bartender with the words: I’ll start with a beer. Watch the joy with which they grab the chilled beer mug and the twinkle of pleasure in their eyes as the cold beer washes down their throats and the alcohol starts flowing through their veins. Still, in terms of per-capita beer consumption, Japan ranks surprisingly low on the world scale at number 23. The top three are the Czech Republic, Ireland and Germany, where the average person drinks a whopping 123 liters of beer per year. Yet despite a rise in imported beer consumption spurred by last year’s World Cup, imported beer still doesn’t even reach 1% of beer sales in Japan. As a publication promoting internationalization in all of its myriad forms, Fukuoka Now proudly presents our Imported Beer Special! Broaden your horizons ﾐ drink imported beers!
(for more info, www.brewers.or.jp, Brewer’s Association of Japan )
Tips from Dr. Beer
1) I want beer now! But it’s warm!
Run your bottle (or can) under a tap, wrap it in a wet towel, and stick it in the freezer for five to ten minutes. Aaaaah, chilled to perfection! If you leave it in there too long though, your beer may explode.
2) Will I get fat from drinking beer?
One large bottle of beer contains 248 calories. But a lot of these calories aren’t stored in the body, and the calorie content of beer is actually low for an alcoholic beverage. The problem is that beer stimulates your appetite, so watch out for those munchies. Binge-drinking should also be avoided. The bottom line is that if you exercise, beer calories become energy, if you sit around, they become fat. Common sense, really.
3) How do I avoid getting a hangover?
Drink early in the evening, leaving enough time for your liver to process the alcohol by morning. Also, if you drink on an empty stomach the alcohol goes on a straight track from stomach to liver to brain, so avoid at all costs. Drinking milk is often recommended, but apparently it has no effect.
4) Mixing different kinds of alcohol is the way to get dead drunk, right?
No. It’s not like some sort of strange chemical reaction happens in your stomach between different kinds of alcohol. The only thing is that you might lose track of what you’ve had and drink too much. Self-control, man, self-control.
～The above primarily refers to lager beers. Your experience may vary.～
My Country, My Beer
Ten foreign residents tell us a bit about their country’s brew and teach us how to toast in their language.
Kwak is strong at 8.5 % and tastes really spicy. It’s very representative of Belgian micro-brews. Top-fermented, it has a rich, copper color with a creamy head.
Enjoy with cubes of Chimay, or Gouda, cheese dipped in salt.
Pours a very clear gold with an extremely minimal white head. Slightly hoppy smell and little carbonation. 700-year history from Frankfurt. Serve well-chilled.
Nothing tastes better than hot sausages and cold German beer!
Na zdravi ！
The original “Budweiser” made with water from a 300 meter deep spring. This is the definitive pilsner and the most popular exported Czech beer.
I enjoy Czech beer with fried cheese, potatoes and tartar sauce.
Bless our beautiful homeland！
A standard-strength lager with a unique taste, somewhat dry, somewhat bitter, never sweet and 5% alcohol by volume. Serve well-chilled.
A salty snack biltong (like beef jerky) goes great with beer!
A thirst quenching pilsener that’s obviously been brewed to be enjoyed on hot days or the tropical island of Bali.
Drinking alcohol in public has restrictions, but beers are becoming popular.
Brewed with German technology and Australian malt and hops in Saigon, it’s a light and easy drinking beer that is as popular outside of Vietnam as inside.
I put a few ice cubes into the glass to really chill the beer.
One of the best summer climate/wheat beer match around. Deceptively light bodied with roasted apricot and mango, this has been made for hot, sunset drinking.
Cascade is best with more cascade.
This is a true amber-colored beer. Smells of flowers and sugar. Good tasting American micro-brew lager. A little sweet, but enough other flavors in there, too.
A beer like this goes great with a big plate of Buffalo Wings.
You can detect the taste of malt and hops, but neither taste dominates the other and has a pleasant bitter finish. Sol means “sun” in Spanish, so try it this summer!
Tastes great with breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Tetleyﾕs English Ale
Sturdy moderate body, hops and malt battle it out between a steely crystal malt flavour and a big floral, slightly bitter and leafy finishing hop profile. I do say!
Enjoy from a glass, or youﾕll get a mouthful of foam.
Where to Score Your Beer!
2-9-1 Befu, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka
The mother of all imported beer shops! Huge direct importer of beers (29 countries, 240 brands), mugs, coasters, towels, etc.
Gulliver Kasuya Branch
2263-1 Nakahara Kasuya-machi Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka
3 min on foot from Hara-machi St on JR Sasaguri Line, 200 brands. Their shop in Meinohama also has a wide selection.
Bon Repas Takamiya
5-1-1 Takamiya Minami-ku, Fukuoka
10:00~21:00 (since 6/1 ~22:00)
Never in June
Located next to Takamiya St. on Nishitetsu Line, 35 brands, and quite a few imported food items ideal for parties.
Torius-Hisayama Hisayama-machi, Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka
Less than a dozen brands but they boast great prices. Also lots of party foods and snacks.
Drink Intﾕl Beer Here!
4-2-15-B1F Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Boasts an amazing 600 brands on the menu! Since 1980 it’s an easy-to-enter landmark located on the main street in Nakasu.
Live & Beer VanBeeru
5-2-3-5F Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
200 brands from 31 countries. All-you-can-drink-and-eat party courses beginning at 3,000 yen.
Kirin Beer Hall Baku
1-22-21-6F, Imaizumi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
17:00~04:00、Sun. & Hol.~02:00
16 world beers and a view of Kego Park if you are lucky enough to get a window seat. Just a stone’s throw from Tenjin St.
Beer Belly Buddies
A casual group of beer lovers that get together about once a month to, well, drink beer. Members exchange information about beer and places to enjoy it. Occasional events. Foreigners welcome!
1-16-5 Yakuin Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Special two-hour all-you-can-drink imported beers (about 10 varieties) on Saturdays 19:00～22:00. Runs until end of June, but may be extended.
Asian Cafe Ron-Dong
3-6-9 Tenjin Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Imported Beer Fair on June 21 & 22nd. 3,000 yen for all-you-can-drink Guinness draft, and 5 other imported beers! Space limited so reservations suggested.