Bakumatsu No Beer, Fukkokuban: Koumin Bakushu - Konishi Brewing Co. (Shirayuki beer)
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"Bakumatu no beer, fukkokuban" ("幕末のビール, 復刻版") means "End of the Edo-era beer, reissue version." According to the bottle, this is "Japan's first beer", dating (well, the recipe I guess!) from 1853. The rest of the name (Koumin Bakushu, 幸民麦酒) is just that of the brewer and "beer" -- it was brewed back then by Kawamoto Koumin (川本幸民), a Japanese "dutch studies" expert -- so presumably the beer was based on dutch sources.
According to the brewery's website, beer yeast was impossible to acquire in Japan at a that time, so it was brewed using Sake yeast -- as was this modern reissue (Konishi is mainly a Sake brewery).
The bottle is an interesting somewhat squat design with some decorative molding, that give it a vaguely old-style "past era" feel.
Beautiful copper color. Nice robust thick head. Smell is not strong, just "beery."
Not sure how to classify this beer, but it tastes "Belgian" to me -- obviously live yeast, with a strong yeasty taste, but also a somewhat tart, dry bite like a saison. A nicely bitter aftertaste, so it's clear there are hops in there. There's a little flatness/wateriness in the finish that bring it down a notch, but nothing major.
Mouthfeel is somewhat thick, crisp, quaffable.
It's the "Japan's first beer!" gimmick that got me to buy it, but in truth this is a nice beer on its own merits. I'd say it has bears more resemblance to current Belgian beers than contemporary Japanese lagers; as I mentioned above, I'm reminded somewhat of a saison.
Who knows how well the taste corresponds to the actual product made 150 years ago, but it's a good beer and an interesting peek into history.
(note -- I set the beer-style somewhat arbitrarily to "Saison", based only on the vague taste resemblance; I have no idea how to classify it otherwise)
12-11-2010 01:03:27 | More by snogglethorpe
Bakumatsu No Beer, Fukkokuban: Koumin Bakushu from Konishi Brewing Co. (Shirayuki beer)
- out of 100 based on 1 ratings.