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Oct 12, 2008 08:33 AM

San Diego: Japanese black beer (kuronama)?

I'll be in San Diego during the week of October 19 and am hoping to find restaurants serving kuronama, a Japanese black beer, which has a very limited distribution in the U.S. (California, but not New Jersey). Asahi has one of the best known brands of kuronama. See my recent posts for background and my similar search a few months ago while in San Francisco:

I found a year-old reference on the Beer board for Yumeya in Encinitas that reports Asahi Kuronama being available. Yumeya also seems to have a lot of fans on this board. I'm not against making the trip up to Encinitas, but was hoping to find something in/closer to San Diego.

Also, if you know of any grocery/liquor stores in the San Diego area selling kuronama, please pass those along too. Thanks very much.

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  1. I honestly don't know a restaurant which serves that particular Asahi sub brand but honestly it is just a dark porter or stout which is made using bottom fermenting (lager) yeast instead of top fermenting (ale) yeast. There are several dozen local breweries in San Diego and the city is widely seen as a great place to have locally made beer so why not try some of the unique local offerings? There are a lot of options so just tell the waiter/bar tender that you're looking for a lightly hopped dark beer.

    2 Replies
    1. re: oerdin

      Thanks for yur suggestion on trying local brews. No doubt during the week, I'll sample a few. Fyi, Kuronama is neither stout nor porter. It is a lager.

      1. re: njfreqflyer

        Lager just means they use cold temperature bottom fermenting yeast. The style would be porter or stout depending on the exact recipe. Any beer style can be either a lager or an ale it just depends on if they use top or bottom fermenting yeast. The yeast have nothing to do with the style of the beer (I.E. how much malt is used, what type of malt, what type of hops, etc).

    2. Last time I was at Taka in the Gaslamp, they had black beer on the menu.

      1. I have no idea if they carry kuronama, but Nijiya Market on Convoy or Mitsuwa nearby may have it. There's another Japanese market on the corner of Kearny Villa Rd and Balboa (I'm blanking on the name).

        Izakaya Sakura on Convoy might be another option.

        1 Reply
        1. re: daantaat

          The Marukai on that corner hasn't received it's license to sell yet, but it may well carry kuronama when it does. I've bought it at other Marukai locations upstate.

          1. Thanks for your replies and suggestions. Unfortunately for me, work and other priorities intruded on my kuronama hunting during this trip and I didn't get to check out Taka or the markets or make it to some of my other target spots (e.g., Kaito in Encinitas). However, somebody must have been watching out for me, because I "stumbled" onto some kuronama by pure luck.

            I was staying at the Hilton Mission Valley on Camino Del Rio South and decided not to eat in the hotel's restaurant. Right next door is Fuji Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi, so I figured I'd get some quick sushi to eat rather than fire up the car and drive somewhere. The sushi was the creative and wild rolls style rather than authentic sushi and sashimi, but yes, they did have Asahi Black (kuronama). And I was delighted. Sometimes, I guess things just have a way of working out.