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Yebisu-Japan's Finest IMO

JSHAFT78 Jan 22, 2008 12:46 PM

I'm a big fan of Yebisu, which Sapporo has released in NY, CA, and HI as of this month. Has anyone been somewhere that had it (restaurant or shop)?

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  1. Josh RE: JSHAFT78 Jan 22, 2008 01:41 PM

    I'm guessing you've never had Hitachino.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Josh
      JSHAFT78 RE: Josh Jan 23, 2008 05:42 AM

      Hitachino? Never tried it. Where could I pick some up?

      1. re: JSHAFT78
        Josh RE: JSHAFT78 Jan 23, 2008 06:43 AM

        Hard to say, it depends on the distribution in your area. I know you can find it on the West and East coasts, not sure about the flyover states. They're an interesting brewery - they make Belgian (witbier, spiced holiday ale), English (milk stout), and German (weizen) traditional styles, as well as some decidedly unique Asian styles (brown ale with ginger, red rice ale, Japanese IPA aged in cedar casks).

        Well worth seeking out.

        1. re: Josh
          Silverjay RE: Josh Jan 24, 2008 03:58 PM

          JSHAFT, you can find Hitachino beers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I personally don't think all that much of them. They're just sort of the first Japanese micro-brewery to market substantially in the U.S. But they're around. Expensive too. If you check out Bento.com's "Brew News" you can learn a lot (everything?) about the beer scene in Japan....I like Ebisu a lot also.

          1. re: Silverjay
            Josh RE: Silverjay Jan 24, 2008 04:49 PM

            Interesting! You're probably the first person I've encountered who doesn't care for them. Which did you have?

            I'm not a huge fan of the Red Rice Ale or the Espresso Stout, or the Japanese Classic Ale, but for my money their witbier is one of the best on the market (took gold, too, at WBC if I'm not mistaken). The sake barrel-aged XH is one of the best wood-aged beers I've encountered.

            1. re: Josh
              Silverjay RE: Josh Jan 24, 2008 08:29 PM

              I've had the Red Rice Ale and the Classic Ale. Not impressed. I'll check out the two you recommend. Thanks for mentioning them.

              1. re: Silverjay
                Josh RE: Silverjay Jan 24, 2008 09:22 PM

                Yeah, those are their two weakest beers, IMO. The XH is tremendous. If you're in NYC, I picked up some at the Whole Foods on Columbus Circle after sampling it at Blind Tiger.

              2. re: Josh
                braineater RE: Josh Mar 24, 2008 10:05 AM

                I'd have to disagree about their white ale being one of the best on the market. Admittedly, it's not my favorite style, but it just seemed to me that there are equally good, if not better, and far fresher versions available from domestic producers such as Allagash and Ommegang. The domestic ones are generally significantly less expensive, too.

                1. re: braineater
                  Josh RE: braineater Mar 24, 2008 12:53 PM

                  Witbier is one of my favorite styles, and the only domestic I had that I thought really compared to Hitachino's was Brooklyn Brewery's amazing Blanche de Brooklyn. I wouldn't put Allagash or Ommegang on the same level as either of these (though I agree both are great beers).

                  I recently had an awesome local witbier, actually, made with lime zest and chamomile. Very interesting and refreshing.

                  1. re: Josh
                    chuckl RE: Josh Mar 21, 2012 02:21 PM

                    I'm with Josh on Hitachino Nest White, I think it's an excellent belgian style wit beer and great with Asian food in particular. I get a little ginger in the flavor, I'm not sure if that's an ingredient though. With Belgian styles you never know. Allagash White is a nice one, and I typically recommend it for novice beer drinkers who might be put off by bitter hops. But Hitachino Nest White, with the owl on the bottle, is definitely up there among my favorites in a style I enjoy quite a bit.

                    1. re: Josh
                      Tripeler RE: Josh Jun 14, 2012 07:24 AM

                      Interesting because the brewer of Hitachino, Kiuchi Shuzo, has a good relationship with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn, and apparently has been making Brooklyn Lager in Japan under contract. By the way, Hitachino's white is quite far away from a Belgian Witbier, and is really in a category of its own.

                  2. re: Josh
                    NZJoe RE: Josh Jun 14, 2012 04:56 AM

                    I`ve only had the white ale but yeah didn`t think that much of it either, doesn`t compare to `Three Boys Beer` from New Zealand.

              3. re: JSHAFT78
                E Eto RE: JSHAFT78 Feb 26, 2008 09:13 PM

                I've found Hitachino at Trader Joe's in NYC.

                1. re: JSHAFT78
                  PDNixon1 RE: JSHAFT78 Dec 9, 2008 08:26 AM

                  There is a casual/fine dining Japanese restaurant called Origami Sushi that carries Sapporo, Asahi, Kirin and Hitachino. It is an authentic Japanese family owned establishment that has both sushi and traditional Japanese cuisine. There is one in Minneapolis MN, Minnetonka MN and another opening soon in Edina MN. Below are links to their site. I highly recommend checking them out.

                  Origami: Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar
                  30 N 1st St # 1, Minneapolis, MN

                  Origami West
                  12305 Wayzata Blvd,, Minnetonka, MN 55305

              4. l
                LStaff RE: JSHAFT78 Jan 23, 2008 11:28 AM

                I had a bottle of Kirin Special Premium Reserve (made by A-B in CA?) the other day at a Japanese restaurant and really enjoyed it. Crisp, clean malt base with substantial hop flavor/aroma - may have been a little skunky - or just alot of hops for the style -hard to tell sometimes with noble type hops, but reminded me of what Beck's used to taste like back in the late 80's. For industrial lager it was pretty good and thankfully didn't taste anything like Bud's yeast profile.

                2 Replies
                1. re: LStaff
                  JSHAFT78 RE: LStaff Jan 24, 2008 07:00 AM

                  I've had the Kirin you mentioned LStaff, and I enjoyed it as well. I didn't experience the somewhat skuny aroma you did though. Hitachino sounds very intriguing, I'll look into that. When I was in Japan, I actually visited the Sapporo brewery and was suprised to find out that all the major Japanese beeers(Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo) were all once(albeit far back) the same company!

                  1. re: JSHAFT78
                    Loren3 RE: JSHAFT78 Feb 1, 2008 09:57 AM

                    Don't know what state you live in, but you can get Hitachino in Minnesota (one of the hipper flyover states).

                2. n
                  norton44 RE: JSHAFT78 Mar 21, 2008 09:58 AM

                  Just in case you're still looking - we had some last night at Ebisu in Little Tokyo. It's on 2nd Street. They had a sign out front saying they serve Yebisu beer, so of course we had to go in. We had already eaten dinner, so I don't know what the food is like.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: norton44
                    norton44 RE: norton44 Mar 21, 2008 10:01 AM

                    Oops, forgot to mention that I'm talking about Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. Sorry.

                  2. Melanie Wong RE: JSHAFT78 Jul 31, 2008 04:48 PM

                    Izakaya Mai in downtown San Mateo has posters up that it serves Yebisu beer.

                    Izakaya Mai Restaurant
                    212 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

                    1. pinstripeprincess RE: JSHAFT78 Aug 5, 2008 08:58 AM

                      i'm a fan of the kizakura line of beers coming out of kyoto. not sure if you can get them in north america but they were pretty pricey over there at about 500-600Y a pop.

                      1. bkhuna RE: JSHAFT78 Sep 10, 2008 07:13 PM

                        Yebisu was my favorite when I lived in Japan (followed by Sapporo Draft). I live in Florida now and there is no Japanese beer available any longer, ever since the big three started making them in North America.

                        I'm hoping one day to get some Yebisu, god forbid they brew it here.

                        Yes, I've had a variety of Hitachino's. They are very good if somewhat overpriced. But I too would love to have traditional lagers and drafts made in Japan by Sapporo and Kirin.

                        1. t
                          thadp RE: JSHAFT78 Sep 15, 2008 07:17 PM

                          I just bought some Yebisu at the Sunrise Mart (Japanese market) in Soho @ 494 Broome St. It's pricey - $3.29/bottle. Their other location (29 3rd Ave) probably also has it. Also, when I checked a few months ago, Bierkraft in Brooklyn had it.

                          As for restaurants, last time I was at Ippudo they were serving it.

                          1. c
                            clarkcommando RE: JSHAFT78 Mar 21, 2012 01:15 PM

                            I'm just joining in concerning the Yebisu experiance.In Sacramento,CA.I can only get it at Oto's(small Japanese grocery store).It's $3.29 a bottle.They use to sell by six pack @ $16.00.My favorite Japanese beer for decades.Anybody know where to find it in SFO bay area liqour store?

                            I just got back from Tokyo,went to the Yebisu beer museum,tried all their beers,which are hard to find even in Tokyo except for the Malt lager.Their brewery is located near Chiba,but was closed during my visit.

                            IMO this is the best Malt beer available in Japan.But most Japanese resturants dont serve it.
                            It's a real treat to drink it in the USA if you can find it.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: clarkcommando
                              Tripeler RE: clarkcommando Mar 21, 2012 05:27 PM

                              Yebisu is one of Sapporo's products and it is fairly good for a mass-produced beer. However, the best of all of Sapporo's beers is the Edel Pils which is only sold in Japan(as far as I know) and only available on draft. It is a superb pils with high quality ingredients and is said to contain three times the amount of hops as regular Sapporo beers.

                              1. re: Tripeler
                                clarkcommando RE: Tripeler Mar 21, 2012 07:26 PM

                                OK sounds good.I'll try it on my next Tokyo visit.I am more a 100% Malt lager style beer fan,as far as Japanese beers go.

                                1. re: clarkcommando
                                  Tripeler RE: clarkcommando Mar 22, 2012 11:39 AM

                                  Edel Pils from Sapporo is 100% malt, and quite good in that regard.

                                2. re: Tripeler
                                  Insidious Rex RE: Tripeler Jun 18, 2012 10:48 AM

                                  New Glarus (WI) used to have a product with the exact same name. Was a solid if simple brew. I wonder if theirs was a nod to the Japanese product (or perhaps the reason they discontinued it was because the Japanese brewery held the name rights?)

                                  1. re: Insidious Rex
                                    clarkcommando RE: Insidious Rex Jun 18, 2012 11:08 AM

                                    I see that edel pils is a style of German beer made by many companies. "Edel" means "nobel".

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