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Noel Ermitano

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Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Noel Ermitano » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:24 am

Late morning to early evening Saturday, the 9th June 2012, wasn't the usual fun day of golf and a beer or two after, as it turned out I had to work on some things. Finishing up by around 6:30pm, I was determined to salvage what little left of Saturday I could.

Thus, though the cook was already finishing up our dinner, I decided to eat out. Initially, I thought of a Swiss-German dinner at Appenzeller, but, when my eldest and a nephew/godson said they'd prefer Japanese, I switched on-the-fly (or, on-the-road, more accurately) to Hanakazu. We were only four for dinner including Catha and I since the second was at a college orientation event, and the youngest was out with his cousin and aunt.

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Appetizer of: L-R: tako (octopus), seaweed in a wasabi cream dressing, & small fishes similar to asohos (a.k.a., whiting; I can't remember its proper name though).

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Sashimi of (all flown in from Japan) Toro, Wagyu, Uni, & Mirugai
(i.e., fatty tuna belly, Japanese beef, sea urchin, and geoduck)

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Close up of the Japanese Uni. Note that the wasabi is always freshly grated here.

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I didn't have any of my usual Hitachino Nest White Ales with me since, as previously stated, I had originally planned to eat at Appenzeller. The relatively light (and I use that term loosely - in comparison to the IPAs and Double IPAs I favor), remarkably fresh, well-balanced Unibroue La Fin du Monde, a fine Belgian-styled Tripel, however, did pretty well with the heavier sashimis...

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...and with the sushis as well: Ama Ebi, Anago, & Ikura
(Sweet Spot Shrimp, Sea Eel, & Salmon Roe)

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We also had some Grilled Hamachi Jaw...

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...a couple of orders of Gindara Teriyaki...

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...Unajudon...
(grilled river eel on rice)

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...Grilled Hamachi Belly (compliments of the chef)...

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...a large order of Ebi Tempura...

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...Catha's Hiyashi Ramen Salad, well, and some Tokujo Karubiyaki (i.e., grilled Wagyu beef) which I forgot to photograph.

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With the heavier, cooked fare, the bottles of the refreshing, palate cleansing, robustly hoppy, creamy textured, Anderson Valley 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA quite nicely. Michael noted, though, that it went surprisingly well with the creamy, fuller flavored, vaguely nutty Japanese uni sashimi, and he was right.

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A choice of packaged Japanese desserts were then offered.

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Mauro got the Mochi Ball Ice Cream, while Michael got the Wafer Ice Cream Sandwich.

Though I, naturally, would have preferred to play golf during the day, this meal managed to make me feel happy Saturday night. It was also nice to see how the boys' palates are developing well. The fine craft beers, of course, added to my relaxed and happier state. Until the next!
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Rahsaan

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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Rahsaan » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:43 am

Noel Ermitano wrote: Unibroue La Fin du Monde


Looks like delicious fun.

I'm a big fan of La Fin du Monde, and have some in my refrigerator right now, but do you really consider Unibroue a 'craft' operation?
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Keith M

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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Keith M » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:25 pm

I'm not Noel, but . . .
Rahsaan wrote:I'm a big fan of La Fin du Monde, and have some in my refrigerator right now, but do you really consider Unibroue a 'craft' operation?

Yup. Being bought up by Sapporo doesn't suffice as grounds for excommunication, at least for me. Is that why you don't think them craft beers?

Certainly Unibroue has an incredible portfolio of what I consider top-quality, delicious, and masterfully crafted brews.
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Rahsaan

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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Rahsaan » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:00 pm

Keith M wrote:I'm not Noel, but . . .
Rahsaan wrote:I'm a big fan of La Fin du Monde, and have some in my refrigerator right now, but do you really consider Unibroue a 'craft' operation?

Yup. Being bought up by Sapporo doesn't suffice as grounds for excommunication, at least for me. Is that why you don't think them craft beers?

Certainly Unibroue has an incredible portfolio of what I consider top-quality, delicious, and masterfully crafted brews.


I thought the term 'craft' was about production size not quality. But I defer to your expertise in these beer matters.
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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Keith M » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:33 pm

Rahsaan wrote:I thought the term 'craft' was about production size not quality. But I defer to your expertise in these beer matters.

Expertise, smexpertise. Different opinions abound. But the beerworld for a large part abandoned the term 'microbrew' in favor of 'craft beer'* to highlight quality rather than scale (and also presumably to stop worrying about how big some of the pioneers of the craft beer movement--especially Boston Beer Company's Samuel Adams--were growing).

And I haven't found a good way to research how much a given brewer produces in a given year, but I strongly suspect that both Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada outpace Unibroue in terms of annual production. It's worth me taking a look . . .

*Which ironically has made a comeback of sorts with buzz these days about nanobreweries!
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:17 pm

Keith M wrote:And I haven't found a good way to research how much a given brewer produces in a given year, but I strongly suspect that both Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada outpace Unibroue in terms of annual production. It's worth me taking a look . . .

This slide-show gives the top ten by volume: http://www.cnbc.com/id/39233398/The_10_Biggest_US_Craft_Breweries?slide=1

SN and BB are #2 and #1, respectively.

This website is generally helpful but does not seem to have individual brewery volumes: http://www.brewersassociation.org/
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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Keith M » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:46 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Keith M wrote:And I haven't found a good way to research how much a given brewer produces in a given year, but I strongly suspect that both Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada outpace Unibroue in terms of annual production. It's worth me taking a look . . .

This slide-show gives the top ten by volume: http://www.cnbc.com/id/39233398/The_10_Biggest_US_Craft_Breweries?slide=1

SN and BB are #2 and #1, respectively.

This website is generally helpful but does not seem to have individual brewery volumes: http://www.brewersassociation.org/

Thanks Jeff! Figures for US brewers are a bit easier to come by, brewers abroad are a bit more challenging (though I have to imagine that something as broadly distributed as Unibroue should be floating around somewhere).
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:55 pm

Keith M wrote:Thanks Jeff! Figures for US brewers are a bit easier to come by, brewers abroad are a bit more challenging (though I have to imagine that something as broadly distributed as Unibroue should be floating around somewhere).

OK, now I've hunted Unibroue. Not as easy as it sounds since they've been bought by Sleeman and then by Sapporo so their numbers keep getting new names and showing up in different places.

The best source I found was an interview with the Master Brewer from 2009: http://allaboutbeer.com/live-beer/people/pull-up-a-stool/2009/01/with-jerry-vietz/

Wikipedia does not have numbers for Unibroue but they quote 1.2 million hl for Sleeman (doesn't say which year but the figure itself was entered in 2008).

Sheesh. You'd think there would be some industry-wide group that has these basic facts on hand.
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Mark Willstatter

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Re: Japanese Cuisine w/ 2 Non-Japanese Craft Beers.

by Mark Willstatter » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:45 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:Wikipedia does not have numbers for Unibroue but they quote 1.2 million hl for Sleeman (doesn't say which year but the figure itself was entered in 2008).

Sheesh. You'd think there would be some industry-wide group that has these basic facts on hand.


I found a reference to 10,000 hL = 8,500 barrrels for Unibroue but that was 2005. Still, unless they've grown massively they're small compared to that US list.

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