A Book & A Beer – The Traveling Cat Chronicles

The book for March is all about cats and saying goodbye. The Traveling Cat Chronicles is a simple and effective tearjerker that alternates between the point of view of the cat owner, Satoru and the Cat, Nana. Named after the # 7 which the cat’s tail resembles.

The book is divided into trips that the owner takes to find a new home for his cat that he rescued from the streets. Each trip brings up memories from when Satoru was younger and when he met the people for the first time that shaped his life. Each trip ends up with Nana getting back into the van with Satoru due to some good/bad reason that the cat would not like it there.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that the owner is dying and that he needs to get this done before he dies but he also doesn’t want to let go for fear of not having the cat to stay alive for. It is blatant with its affections and wears the emotion on the sleeves of everyone in the book but by the end it works. Maybe not because of the book itself but because having and giving away a pet is such an emotional tie.

The first beer choice is from Baird Beer. Kurofune Porter has a bittersweet taste of chocolate and malt that matches the tears you will spill. If you are into trading SingleCut from New York has 本から来たネコ (some cat from japan) IPA. Or my last choice is the La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin that has a swashbuckling cat on the label.

Book Day – Sake-pedia

Considering that there have been slight incursions into mixing Sake and craft beer, it is probably high time to learn more about the Japanese spirit, and Sake-Pedia from Jeff Cioletti looks to be a good place to start.

Cioletti is an International Kikisake-shi, think Cicerone or Sommelier but for Sake, and his goal with the book is to take Sake from misunderstood to enjoyed.

Hitachino in Manhattan Beach

Tomorrow, get your Hitachino…..

Thursday, April 7 · 11:30am – 2:30pm

Brewco Manhattan Beach
124 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA

“Join us Thursday, April 7th to help raise funds for the Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami relief efforts. $20 gets you a flight of 6 different brews from the Hitachino Brewery. All proceeds are donated to the Red Cross. Since the earthquake, the good folks at Hitachino have stopped brewing and are focusing all their efforts to bottle water for those in need. Come in and enjoy these great beers while they are still available and drink for a good cause!”

I recently had their White beer and it was excellent. Tasted of chamomille tea. Buy some to show not only support but give them a reason to brew again.

UPDATE: You can also do this at Blue Palms on Thursday the 7th.

Beer in Japan

Yes, the world of apps are crowded. I had my choice of 8 metronome apps and those were just the free ones. And yes, many apps have one neat feature that grows old. The vuvuzela app that I had for all of 2 days would fit that description.

But the Beer in Japan app (an offshoot of the website of the same name) is in a small niche and it is useful.

You can plan your trip and then use it when you are in Japan to take notes too! It doesn’t require wi-fi and it has coupons!

Canned Japanese beer


This canned beer isn’t from Oskar Blues or 21st Amendment. It is straight from the Yo-Ho Brewery in Nagano, Japan. Canned beer is sweeping the world and not just the US.

Yo-Ho also makes an IPA, Biere de Garde and a barleywine. Quite unusual for a country that is either light lagered or exotic ingredient heavy.

World Cup + World Beer – Japan



This should be an intriguing match up. Japan is an exciting team to watch and like the US team very difficult to beat this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reach the semi-finals.

The best known of Japanese beers is Sapporo. Might be time to hear the whoosh when a can opens of their trademark oversize silver cans.

Baird Brewery

Now this is a brewery that I need to sample from. Baird is a Japanese brewery that has some really unusual ingredients in their beers. Yuzu in particular goes great with spicy saison in my mind.

For instance:
Temple Garden Yuzu Ale
“The spicy aroma and tart flavor of Japanese yuzu fruit, picked at a local temple garden, define this other-worldly brew. A luscious kiss of malt sweetness serves as a wonderful balance to the citric tang. This inspired ale surely is proof of the existence of a higher being.”
ABV 5.5%
Shizuoka Summer Mikan Ale
“Brewed with fresh Shizuoka summer mikans (natsumikans) and citrusy American hops, this original ale is aromatic, effervescent, dryly acidic and unabashedly refreshing.”
ABV 5.5%

Echigo Stout review

My mystery dark beer reviewer has this to say about another Japanese beer…
“Nice dark chocolate almost black color. Pretty hefty alcohol smell. 7% abv. Nice rich taste. Fairly full mouth feel. First after taste was pretty bitter but as I drank more the flavors melded nicely. Nice lacing on the glass as well. Drank after an green enchilada dinner while airing out my ole filled house. There’s little doubt that my taste buds have been influenced by my surroundings.
Even though I have only had 2 Japanese beers, they both seem somehow lighter and brighter than the us and Brit beers I’ve had.”