Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Lovin'...havin' a beer...or two...or three...oh, just stop counting!

6/15 - Ashlee and I checked out the new location for Fat Bottom Brewing on the west side of Nashville tonight before a Third Eye Blind concert downtown.  The food was great and the beer was decent.  I had the 2 Hop Shakur West Coast IPA and a sip of Ashlee's Two Piece ginger pale wheat ale,

 I finished at Fat Bottom with the oddly bright-colored Wallflower Spring Saison that was sour but full of power.

6/23 - Why can't this be my work truck?  We stopped by Lebanon Wine and Spirits tonight and Grayton Beer Company (Santa Rosa Beach, FL) was there giving out free samples.  I tried the decent 30A Beach Blonde Ale , the Salt of the Gulf sour gose which was an interesting sour/saline mix, and the ho-hum Fish Whistle IPA...way too malty for an IPA in my opinion.
6/23 - I finally got to check out the awesome new HQ Beercade in downtown Nashville tonight where you can play classic arcade games for free while sipping a good selection of craft beer.  I have actually never played the beer-inspired Tapper  video game before tonight, but it was kind of fun and challenging.  I had a King Buffalo stout from Tallgrass Brewing (KS) while there.


6/26 - Great soundtrack.  Decent movie, but I was expecting a bit more.


We celebrated the 4th in Chattanooga and I had a ChickBock maibock from Chattanooga Brewing after a fun day on the Chickamauga Lake...see below

Just for the record, no beer was consumed before this occurred...
7/6 -  Stopped by Homegrown Taproom on my way to the movies tonight and had the honor of  grabbing a glass of the George Dickel Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter from Nashville's own Tennessee Brew Works.  This was only my second original check-in on UnTapped and it was a dandy with its beautiful chocolate linger


I finished up with a Wise Blood IPA from Wild Heaven Beer (GA) before meeting my friend, Wayne, to see the new
Spider-man: Homecoming in IMAX at Opry Mills.  Glad to see Marvel Studios finally get this franchise done right!

7/8 -  I had an Acme-Rooster Brew pale wheat ale from Fat Bottom Brewing  made especially for Acme Feed and Seed with a sushi lunch on our way to see the USMNT take on Panama in the opening round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament at Nissan Stadium here in Nashville.  We kissed our sister with a tie today, but went on to win the 2017 Gold Cup!!

7/13 - Excellent acting by Andy Serkis again.  Story line was a little sloppy, but an entertaining film and trilogy overall.

7/14 - Cheers, Nashville!!  I had a terrific Fugli IPA - Oskar Blues Brewery (NC division) as we boarded the brand-new Pontoon Saloon boat tour on the Cumberland River tonight with several of our friends.  It's a BYOB activity and I did just that with a nice variety four-pack from Lebanon Wine and Spirits.  Next up was  a solid Nebraska Brewing IPA (Oct 2016 - ).  What a perfect night for a cruise!

The best of the night was the Puff imperial IPA from one of my favorite craft breweries,  Sixpoint out of Brooklyn, NY. 

 OK, I did NOT know there was a lighthouse in Tennessee.  What a little beauty!  I finished the evening with a refreshing Lime Pilsner from Uinta Brewing (UT) 

7/16 - We had a small pool party for our Kiwi visitor, Mel, today, but I seemed to have got all the good presents.  My friend, Nate, brought some small-batch recently-tapped brews from New Heights Brewing here in Nashville.  First up was the excellent White Oak Wood-Chip Aged Navel Gazer imperial stout.  Then the above-pictured Dark American Oak imperial stout which was also amazing.  I also had a can of  Home Rule pale lager from Atlas Brewing (Washington, DC) that Nate brought as well as a Lost Souls IPA from Evil Twin Brewing (Brooklyn, NY). and finally an UNSTOUTTD stout also from Evil Twin Brewing.  Did I mention I really love my friend, Nate?  
7/18 - I had an Embrace the Funk Foeder # 2 American wild ale from local Yazoo Brewing with dinner at Party Fowl in Nashville tonight.  It was very sour and that made me very dour.

7/20 - Amazing film and a must-see in IMAX! I will put it in my Top 5  Favorite War Films but it's still behind Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down....and probably Platoon.

7/21 - My long-time friend, Chris, came up from Chattanooga today and we did a short Nashville brewery crawl before a Steve Earle and the Dukes' first-ever-headlining show at The Ryman.  Our first stop was New Heights Brewing where I had a Beerded Recluse strong ale.  We moved on to Czann's Brewing where there was no new beer for me, but some valuable free downtown parking. Plus, Chris had never been here.  My friend Nate joined us while at Czann's and then we all Uber-ed over to Jackalope Brewing next where I had the interesting Peach Tea Pale Ale.  Next, we walked next door to dinner at Party Fowl.   With dinner I had a beautifully cloudy and hoppy 1927 IPA from Tennessee Brew Works also here in Nashville. Nate didn't go to the show with us, but my old childhood friend, Jeff, and his date, joined us for the excellent show.  The openers were Lucero who were also pretty good.  Lead singer, Ben Nichols' gravelly voice is definitely more intoxicating than the weak Music City Light lager I had at the show from the Music City Beer Company (in Nashville?...sounds mass-produced and sketchy).   Back home after the show, we took a late night dip in the pool with a couple of Two-Hearted Ales from Bell's Brewing (MI) that Chris brought up.  What a good, good day of beer, music and camaraderie! 
7/27 - It was poker night in Lebanon tonight and I got another great variety four-pack from Lebanon Wine and Spirits to get me through the long periods of being card-dead.  I started with the good Special Regular IPA from Wiseacre Brewing (Memphis), then the Cedar Creek Brew Company IPA from Indiana that had an unpleasant aftertaste.  Batting third was the excellent Belgian-style Bourbon Barrel Quad from Boulevard Brewing (KC).  The finale was the almost-perfect Duck-Rabbator Dopplebock from Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery (NC).   

I described this movie as "The Fifth Element on steroids."  Really enjoyable sci-fi flick.  Before the movie at Opry Mills, I had dinner at Homegrown Taproom and three half-pints including the fairly weak Hipster Dance Party double IPA from East Nashville Beer Works,  the nice Bousiller Belgian pale ale from Mantra Artisan Ales over in Franklin, TN, and finally the best of the stop:  the tasty Tropjack IPA from Blackstone Brewing here in Nashville. 

ROBtoberfest

June 3, 2017 -  I have the best wife in the world, people!

(and possibly the best friend in Chris -freaking- DeGroff!!)

Despite me spending my 50th birthday in lovely and amazing Japan, my awesome wife, Ashlee, decided I needed an actual birthday party as well, and so a few months later with the weather right for using the pool she put together "Robtoberfest" for me.  It was a pool party complete with, tasty German food, an amazing blow-up Irish pub, 50 different kinds of canned craft beer (8 new ones for me), and lots of pool-oriented fun including watching our beloved Preds on a big-screen outside from the pool in the Stanley Cup Finals.  We had about 40 people show up and I got a ton of cool and thoughtful gifts.  One of the best was from my good friend, Chris, who surprised me with an amazing gift of 50 more different craft beers from in and around Indiana where he lives now.  With his collection I added 43 new-to-me beers to my ever-growing consumption-collection.
The blow-up Irish pub fit nicely in our backyard behind the pool.  It was large and roomy inside with chairs and tables and a large bar area.

One of the new pool floats given to me by Ashlee for Robtoberfest was this cool beer float complete with attached cooler.

Another Ashlee gift was this hilarious children's book knock-off for beer lovers.

My favorite character from Goodnight Brew is, of course, the hops wildebeest.  
Since our 50 different party canned beers were from Lebanon Wine and Spirits, I naturally had already had a lot of them.  But the eight of them that I not had were:  T-Time, a sour Berliner Weisse from Terrapin Brewing (Athens, GA); the above-pictured Creekbank Blonde ale from BriarScratch Brewing in nearby Gallatin, TN;  the Roundhouse IPA from Bell's Brewery (MI), the Passion Fruit Pinner IPA from Oskar Blues Brewery (CO): Raspberry Jam, another sour Berliner Weisse from Tallgrass Brewing (KS); the Dayblazer blonde ale from New Belgium (CO); and the best of the bunch, the Resin and Hi-Res IPAs from the always-great Sixpoint Brewery (Brooklyn, NY).    I also got to have some Suttungabrygden mead from Mjodhamnen Meadery in Sweden that my friend, Nate, brought to the party.  It's the first mead I've had that I actually liked.



Another great Ashlee-gift  in tune with the party theme was the Can Stein that holds your canned beer in fine German style including a lid to keep the bugs out when you are hanging out at the pool!  
6/5 - 7/  - As I mentioned above, my amazing friend, Chris, brought me 50 different beers for my birthday from around his new home region of Indiana, and a whopping 43 of them were new to me.  It took me about a month to finish them all off mostly at home around the pool. Here's a quick (yet long) run-down of every one of the new ones:

Cascade Express IPA - 18th St. Brewery - IN - been to this brewery actually!
Pale Alement pale ale - Burn 'Em Brewing - IN
Special Ale - River Horse Brewing - NJ - took this one and the next two to Poker Night in Lebanon
IPA - River Horse Brewing - NJ
Deadeye Stout - Triton Brewing - IN - my fav of the night, a smoked beauty
Tripel Horse - River Horse Brewing - NJ
Golden Hop IPA - Yards Brewing - PA
Love Stout - Yards Brewing - PA
What the Butler Saw witbier - Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing - NJ
MCA IPA - Burn 'Em Brewing - IN
Lift Off IPA - Daredevil Brewing - IN
Indiana Amber red ale - Oaken Barrel Brewing - IN - been to this one too!
Night Tripper stout - New Holland Brewing - MI
Alpha King pale ale - 3 Floyds Brewing - IN - been there and love it!  More poker night beer.
Mr. Hyde stout - Greenbush Brewing - MI
Gnaw Bone Pale Ale - Oaken Barrel Brewing - IN
Hopsquatch - Mad Anthony Brewing - IN
Closure pale ale - Greenbush - MI
Loch Down Scotch Ale - Arcadia Brewing - MI
Candi Crushable IPA - 18th Street Brewery - IN
Mango Gose - The Sour Note Brewing - IN
Ivory Stout - Brew Link Brewing - IN
10-Speed Hoppy Wheat ale - Bloomington (IN) Brewing Company
Hop Loco double IPA - Mad Anthony Brewing - IN
Yum Yum pale ale - 3 Floyds - IN
Dunegras IPA - Greenbush - MI

Hop'solutely IPA - Fegley's Brew Works - PA - online poker night.  Yes, it's back!!  Global Poker has somehow made it legal again to play online poker. in the U.S  Above is one of my small-entry tournament wins on the site for a nice payday.

Money Maker - Danny Boy Beer Works - IN - poker brew...naturally
Rail Splitter IPA - Triton - IN
Naught Neighbour pale ale - Nickel Brook Brewing - Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Old Leghumper porter - Thirsty Dog Brewing - OH
Exit 16 - Wild Rice Double IPA - Flying Fish Brewing - NJ
Siberian Night stout - Thirsty Dog Brewing - OH
Hunter milk stout - 18th Street - IN
Wrath of Pele brown ale - Burn 'Em Brewing - IN
Training Day pale ale - Danny Boy - IN
Lager of the Lakes - Bell's Brewery - MI
Six Foot Blonde ale - Quaff ON! Brewing -  Nashville....IN!
Farmhouse Summer Ale - Flying Fish Brewing  - NJ
Double Cannon Imperial IPA - Heavy Seas Beer Co. - MD
Grand Cru Winter Reserve Belgian ale - Flying Fish Brewing - NJ
Star Chicken Shotgun IPA - Greenbush Brewing - MI
And the final new one from Chris - the General George Patton Pilsner from Evil Czech Brewery - IN
or so I thought...
a week later Ashlee fished out a delicious Thai P.A. IPA from Bare Hands Brewery (IN) from the back of the fridge.  BONUS!


Man, what a birthday and what a great bunch of presents!!  

I am a lucky man with a nice big beer gut to prove it!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Low-Carb Dieting During the Week...but weekends and the NHL playoffs don't count, right?

No beer, just beauty.  Cagle Mountain on Saturday, May 6th.  

I have been low-carb dieting since getting back from Japan and I was good all week, but then Sunday rolled around and I attended a huge, historic game for the Nashville Predators, so I had to cheat a little...

Sunday, May 7 -  I started my cheat session at Czann's Brewing where I had their  excellent session Citra IPA in exchange for some valuable free parking near the Bridgestone Arena.  

As the game began I picked up a pint can of pretty good Genesee Cream Ale from Genesee Brewing (NY) at the new (at least to me) Daily's Convenience Store inside in the arena

Second period, down 0-1 and I picked up a session SeaQuench Ale  from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE) at my favorite craft beer bar in the arena.  I tell you I was about as sour as this beer is until we scored to tie it up just 35 seconds in!!  For a sour, this wasn't bad.  

I went back to my favorite beer bar in the arena and picked up a Pale Ale can from Good People Brewing (AL) who liked my tweet to them from the game.  It held and tasted good as did our 2-1 lead throughout the third period with an empty-netter at the end to seal the deal!!
Here's a full view of the arena decked in gold for the historic win over the St. Louis Blues to get the Preds into the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.  I was proud to be there and even loved my nosebleed seat to be able to see it all unfold in front of me.  Half-way to The Cup!!

May 13th - We went down to Chattanooga to catch a J Roddy Walston and the Business concert at the Revelry Room and I had a Liquid Bliss  porter from Terrapin (Athens, GA) during the show.  After the show I had an Oberon Ale (pale wheat) from Bell's Brewery (MI) at the cool Back Stage Bar next door.   The next day (5/14) was Mother's Day and I had a Vienna Lager at Big River Grille and Brewing with lunch with my mother-in-law, Evelyn. 
J Roddy gettin' down to Business...

May 16th
- Back in Nashville tonight we met up with our friends, Danny and Brenda, to celebrate Brenda's birthday and to watch the Preds play an away game on the many TV screens at the Cool Springs Brewery.  I had their Titches Wit, their I'll Be Black scharzbier and their Nice Rack (Mango Infused IPA) with dinner.  Yes, we got the rally win!

May 18th - We flew down to Tampa, Florida tonight for a quick anniversary getaway to The Gulf.  At the airport before flying out I had an Extra Easy Ale from Tennessee Beer Works here in Nashville at the O'Charley's there.
May 19 - It's our anniversary so I took my honey to a real classy place for lunch called The Monkey Bar in Homosassa, Florida, on our way north from Tampa to Cedar Key where we would be spending our weekend.  The Monkey Bar overlooks Monkey Island in the harbor where several spider monkeys reside and you catn watch them frolic while munching on fresh seafood and swigging beers including this Center Field Brown ale from Copp Brewery in nearby Crystal River, Florida.  

Cedar Key, Florida, is an interesting place.  It's kind of a working-man's Key West without all the tourists and high prices.  We rented a house with a nice Gulf view from the Cedar Key Bed and Breakfast and I picked up a six-pack of  delicious Unholy Trippel from Coppertail Brewing (Tampa) to have at the house.  
We did find a couple good bars in town.  I had a Stump Knocker Pale Ale from Swamp Head Brewing (Gainesville, FL) at the ultra-cool Tiki Bar at the Low Key Hideaway (photo above, note the cool walls made of beer bottles) as well as a Jon Boat Coastal Ale from Intuition Ale Works (Jacksonville).  At Steamers Clam Bar and Grill I had a Drift English Mild Ale from First Magnitude Brewing (Gainesville, FL) and a kinda sour Florida Avenue Ale from Florida Avenue Brewing (Tampa).    We stopped at a new World of Beer restaurant right beside the Tampa Airport on our way home for dinner and I had a hoppy beauty of an IPA called Sharrow from Cycle Brewing Company (St. Petersburg, FL). 
May 23 - On my way to see the new Alien: Covenant movie in IMAX out at Opry Mills tonight with my pal, Wayne, I stopped for a beer and some brats at the large, new Bavarian Bierhaus that just opened at the mall there.  It's a fun beer-hall atmosphere with live music and the food was good.  I wasn't overwhelmed with their beer selection but settled on a Hacker-Pschorr Dunkle Weisse from Munich.

The movie was OK, but I didn't think it was a great follow-up to Prometheus which I really liked.
We spent Memorial Day by the pool and I got me a variety four-pack from Lebanon Wine and Spirits to get me through the "tough" day.  I started with a Sumatra Mountain Brown, an imperial brown ale with a wonderful coffee linger from Founders Brewing (MI).  I had a sip of Ashlee's Saison Au Miel from Left Hand Brewing (CO). Next up was a Tropical Torpedo from Sierra Nevada (CA).  The perfect fruity IPA for poolside.  The New Heights IPA from here in Nashville was next and it was excellent.  I finished up with a decent Professor IPA from Cranker's Brewery (MI).  

5/31- 6/1 Frustrated by the atmospheric prices of tickets here in Nashville for the Stanley Cup Finals between my beloved Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins, I decided to make a mad dash to Pittsburgh where ticket prices were actually much more reasonable.  My good friend, Chris, who now lives in Indiana but is a huge Preds fan, agreed to meet me in The Steel City and go to the game also.

I had to drive eight hours, but I got to see a Stanley Cup Final game.  We were in it until the 3rd period when the wheels fell off and we unfortunately lost.  But it was a great time and I do not regret it in the least.

I began my drive north tonight after work with a stop north of Cincinnati for the night.  I took a driving break in Louisville and found the relatively new Holsopple Brewing and had their excellent Project Alpha IPA.  I will be seeking these guys out again when I am in the area.  Strong new player in the craft beer scene!
Our first destination after we met up in Pittsburgh was a place I had been to with Ashlee a few years back on another visit here:  The Church Brew Works, a brewery in a decommissioned church.  We had lunch and a few beers since we weren't driving (thanks Uber!).  I started with their amazing Tequila Mockingbird strong ale.  Next up was the decent Thunderhop IPA and then the 200% Fit Smoked Doppelbock.  I finished with the hoppy delight that is the Thunder Juice IPA.  



Back in our room, Chris surprised me with pre-game pint can of goodness: the Westy IPA from Bare Hands Brewing in Granger, IN.  Game on!!  

I call this one "The Head and the Heart."  Pre-game antics in enemy territory.
The fans were fairly decent to us although there was some chanting of my Nystrom jersey name from up behind me when we the Preds got down.  At least they had decent beer in the PPG Paints Arena.  Here's a pic from our seats of a Stinky Hippie Pale Ale from North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock (best town name ever!), PA.  

Our hotel  in Pittsburgh was a Drury Inn within walking distance of the arena, but the coolest thing is that the building used to be a bank and these huge vault doors are still in the basement....easier than hauling them out I guess! 

I drowned my sorrows from the loss (and cut up the long drive home) with a stop in Cincinnati for lunch at Mad Tree Brewing.  I had some killer pizza and their Mexican Hot Chocolate Brown (Nitro) ale that was a little hot, a little sweet and a whole lotta smooth.  I got a baby growler (half gallon) of the Treesearch #10.5 Experimental IPA to take home with me and enjoy by the pool the next couple days.  
6/1 - Saw Wonder Woman tonight in IMAX.  It was as awesome as this poster.  


Friday, June 23, 2017

Will Japan have any good beer...that is the question....

April 2017 - Ashlee and I have a big trip to Japan scheduled for the end of the month and I have a few places scoped out at least in Tokyo where I should be able to have some craft beer.

Until then...

Saturday, 4/1 - We had tickets to see the Preds play today and before the game we stopped at Czann's Brewing for a beer (and to score some valuable free parking).  I had their German Pislner which was crisp and refreshing.  They also had a "we-need-to-open-a-new-tap" deal on their Oatmeal Stout where if you bought a pint, which Ashlee did, you got a free growler-fill of it as well.  We also ran into our friend, and craft beer aficionado, Nate, while we were there.
At the game I continued my pilsner-kinda-day with a nice PC Pils from Founders Brewing (MI) which was available at the Better Beer Bar in Bridgestone Arena.  The Preds took it down in impressive fashion over the Minnesota Wild, 3-zip.  
Tuesday, 4/4 - I saw Ghost in the Shell at the $5 Bargain Night at the Roxy Theaters here in Lebanon with my pal Casey tonight.  It was a lot better than I thought it would be.  I didn't have any beer to report, I just REALLY LIKE this poster...hubba, hubba, Miss Scarlett, I do declare! 
Friday, 4/7 - I couldn't let National Beer Day pass by without  having a brew, so I dug out a tasty HANGTIME pale ale from Blackstone Brewing here in Nashville from the refrigerator vegetable crisper (my favorite place to chill beers).
Ashlee partook as well to celebrate National Beer Day and we hung out on the patio with the warm sun on our backs and toasted the day, the weather and the fact it was Friday!


Sunday, 4/9 - It was Poker Night in Lebanon for me so I stopped by Lebanon Wine and Spirits (whose beer selection seems to get better every time I go there).  I got a variety four-pack that included a strong Palate Wrecker double IPA from Green Flash Brewing (CA); a decent Namaste White witbier from Dogfish Head Brewery (Delaware); a really good Pure Hoppiness double IPA from Alpine Beer Company (CA) and a tasty finish with an Expedition Stout (Russian Imperial) from Bell's Brewery (MI).  Before I left for the game, I had a sip of Ashlee's delightful Pear Lager from Devil's Backbone Brewing (VA).

4/15 - We had a layover in Denver on our way to Tokyo and we found a great little hot dog place in the airport call Steve's Snappin' Dogs and they had a nice beer list from which I chose the solid IPA by Odell Brewing over in nearby Fort Collins, CO.

ON TO JAPAN & yes, on to BEER!

I surprisingly found a good amount of decent craft beer in Japan  along with some of their better known national brands that were hit or miss...

April 16 - I didn't have to go far once we got to Tokyo to find some decent craft beer.  Yona Yona Beer Works was within walking distance of our hotel and it's also where we had our first meal in Japan consisting of some interesting house-made sausages including our favorite: the bologna with edamame (round one at top of photo below).   I had a tasting flight of beers with my meal and started with their pale Yona Yona Ale which was decent.  The Tokyo Black Porter wasn't quite as smoky or coffee-infused as I was hoping for. Their Aooni IPA was solid and my favorite of the bunch.  My last one was the Karuizawa Kogen Wild Forest  blonde ale which I thought could use a bit more bite to it.  I also had a sip of Ashlee's Boku Kimi Beer which was their saison and wasn't too bad.

April 17 - As we were walking back from a self-guided morning tour of the famous Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, I got my first "street-walkin' beer" in Japan.  I discovered that you can walk around in Japan with an open beer without any scrutiny (at least I didn't get any).  I grabbed an EXTRA Pale Ale  from the Ginga Kogen Beer Company at a little market on our way back to the hotel.  It wasn't too bad, but seemed to be  a stretch to call itself a pale ale.
April 18 - During a half-day city tour  of Tokyo we passed by the macro-brewers Asahi Beer headquarters which is the color of a beer complete with a "foamy top."  Now that's funny and kind of awesome!   My second "street-walking beer" of the trip was a decent Tokyo Craft Pale Ale from macro-brewerers, Suntory, bought at the busy Ginza Subway Station
We had a food tour tonight and at our last stop for some hot monjayaki I had an ice cold Super Dry Extra Cold lager from Asahi.  Cheers to your cool building, fellas!   Now go focus on making better beer...   I finished the evening with my third "street-walker" which was a Lager from macro-brewer, Kirin, that was pretty good actually on the way back to the hotel.

April 18 -  We took an awesome day-trip from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji  today and the weather couldn't have been more perfect!  Ashlee even found me a can of World Treasure Mt. Fuji Original Craft Beer which I promptly drank on Mt. Fuji at  about 6,627' elevation!  The experience was a little better than the beer, but you take moments like this in stride.  
I slipped off back to Yona Yona Beer Works again today while Ashlee turned in early and had another round of sausages and another beer: the SunSun Organic Beer which is their blonde ale.  It was light and crisp and pretty tasty.

April 19 - We took a break from Japanese food (and the lager-rich environment of their beer) and had an Italian dinner tonight at Trattoria e Pizzeria De salita near our hotel that was actually pretty good.  They had some Italian bottled beer on the menu and I had a pretty glass of  macro-brewer, Birra Moretti's La Rossa, a  decently smooth dopplebock.

April 20 - Happy Birthday to Me.  Salute!!  I technically checked a couple more beers in at Yona Yona Beer Works on 4/19 in Japan, but it was already my birthday back home so my Untappd  birthday badge was legit.  I started my third and final visit to Yona Yona with their Boku Beer, Kimi Beer Yorimichi an American-style pale wheat ale that was very good.    "The final flourish"  (I loved the movie, Love Actually) at Yona Yona was the Karuizawa Kogen Sesaonal Golden Ale (2016) which was excellent.  Thanks, Yona Yona Beer Works for a great start to Japan and finding good craft beer!  

April 21 - We got on our cruise ship yesterday for our circumnavigation of the whole main island of Japan and today was a day at sea.  My beloved Nashville Predators SWEPT the hated Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and I was ecstatic!  Do you know how hard it was to find a GOLD BROOM on a cruise ship to pose for this picture???    Thanks Princess Cruise Lines for accommodating this silly request!  GO PREDS!!

April 23 - I found this little beauty in a gift shop at The Tottori Flower Park in Sakaiminato, Japan, our first stop on in Japan and our second port of the cruise (Busan, South Korea was first...no beer found there...boo!).  It was a real craft beer because you couldn't screw the top off and I had to get creative to pop it off.  The Daisen G Beer Pilsner was pretty good.  It's made by the Kumezakura Daisen Brewery located right here in the Tottori prefecture.

April 24 - It was more flowers  and more beer today at the Tonami Tulip Park and Festival inland from our third cruise port, Toyama.  I found this rather tasty can of All-Free (lager?) from Japanese macro-brewer, Suntory. at an outdoor vendor in the park.  I didn't  really realize it was alcohol-free until I checked it in.  I figured the "All-Free" just meant it was organically brewed.  The "All-Free" also means calorie-free and carb-free.  These guys might be on to something!  

April 25 - No idea what this beer is.  Probably just a Kirin or Asahi lager.  I like the picture because it's a cool mug and it was served at a very authentic Japanese restaurant in Akita by our waiter who didn't speak a word of English.  Our table was in a little wooden booth with a privacy curtain.  Dinner was excellent and the beer was ice cold.  

Lawson Convenience Stores are all over Japan and today in Akita on our way back to the boat  after dinner, I found out that they have a pretty good beer selection.  The only Japanese craft beer I had before this trip was from Hitachino Nest.  This canned Lager was outstanding. And now begins a nice little run of some of the better craft beer I  was able to find in Japan outside of Tokyo.  That is except for the Kirin Lime can of beer I bought next. at a gift shop near the port  I poured that shit out after two swallows.  Awful!  

April 26 - The port of Hakodate was a gold mine of good canned craft beer that I found in gift shops and convenience stores.  This Otaru Bakusyu Amber Ale is a pleasant English-style brown ale produced by Hokkaido Brewing Company just north of here.

This fairly hoppy Onuma Altbier is produced by the brewpub, Brauhaus Onuma, also in the Hokkaido prefecture.  These folks have been brewing craft beer since 1997!!  Respect your elders!!  I took a couple  more beers back to the boat since they had crap to choose from on board and we had a long day at sea day after tomorrow.  One was the Onuma India Pale Ale which wasn't my favorite IPA ever, but an interesting take nonetheless.  

I also grabbed a can of the Otaru Bakusyu Pilsner that was solid.

4/27 - Thanks to my wife, Ashlee, for making me get this one to have on the boat  during the day at sea as well.  I didn't really care to have another mass-produced pilsner, but she pointed out that you CAN ONLY GET THIS BEER IN JAPAN, so I slurped down the so-so Sapporo Classic continued enjoying our trip.
4/28 - BACK IN TOKYO  
My little trick of looking in convenience stores and markets for craft beer paid off in spades!!

I found the nice and hoppy Flying IPA from Echigo Beer Company and enjoyed it in one of the many open-air parks in the Odiaba District.  

Ashlee's choice for park sipping that I also had a sip of was this Suiyoubi no Neko white ale made by Yo-Ho Brewing (i.e. the brewers for Yona Yona Beer Works for our first days in Tokyo).  It was tasty and what a cool can! 

I went from Level 1 all the way to Level 5 on Untappd for Japanese beer thanks to our little jaunt to The Far East!

No, I didn''t have a beer here.  Just thought it was awesome..."and I ain't talking about in no paper cup...I mean a glass of beer...(at McDonald's)" -  Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction  

Well, I looked the whole trip for the legendary beer vending machines of Japan with no luck.  Someone told me they stopped allowing them on the streets since they couldn't enforce age restrictions (no duh??)...but they are real!!!  I found this one down in the bowels of our hotel next to a conference room hidden in the corner.  Sadly, there wasn't anything I wanted in it....especially not those nasty Kirin Lime beers....yuck!!

Just a cool twilight shot of the harbor and The Rainbow Bridge from the beach near our hotel.  I am gonna miss you, Tokyo.

My last two beers in Japan were good ones that I enjoyed with a great view from our room.  First up was the excellent Captain Crow Extra Pale Ale from OH! LA! HO Brewery.  Last, but not least, was the Okinawa IPA from the Nanto Brewery that was brimming with hops just the way I like 'em!  

Arigato, Japan, for an interesting hunt for even more interesting craft and mainstay beers throughout your beautiful country, and for a wonderful trip from start to finish!