This Saturday I went to the Tokyo beer group “BEERS” annual hanami and was lucky enough to not only taste some excellent homebrew but to meet some of the brews’ creators. These are guys who have years of experience making beer in Japan so should be good people to quiz about getting equipment, recipes that fit in with Japan’s limitations, etc.

With my recent interest in kegging, top curiosity for me was seeing how these homebrewers de-keg their beer – in particular, whether they use CO2 injectors, where they get refills, etc. A man giving out free homebrew is a popular man indeed at a hanami so I couldn’t get a lot of information on the day, but I did make a lot of good contacts and intend following up with people.

I get the feeling that a lot of the equipment on use was brought in or sent to Japan. One guy had a very nifty 5L mini-keg which a tap slides into, sent from the USA – would be perfect if they didn’t only last 6-8 refills. Most of the other kegs being used had been group purchased a few years back, sent into Japan.

One of the guys brought along a dispensing machine, a model that can either be plugged in or filled with ice. I’ve been looking at getting something similar myself – in fact I bid on one on Friday but after the jolly hanami I forgot to login for the end of the auction on Saturday night and lost my place!  – so it was nice to see this in action.

Over the weekend I also checked out Beer three and Beer four – All Centennial IPA and Triple Cock(-up) IPA. After a week in the bucket, Beer three is around 1.018. I’m going to leave it for at least another few days – to the weekend if I can resist. Beer four I just tasted – it’s not as aromatic and flavoursome as Beer three, but it is only a few days old and should hopefully turn out drinkable. Beer two is still fermenting away – I didn’t touch it.

I’ll have at least one bucket free by this weekend – time to think about what Beer five will be. I need to take advantage of the spring weather – once summer hits Japan brewing will be a challenge.