Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brew's Clues

In May last year, they built a new convenience store around the corner from my house.  (As I don't do product placement on this blog, I'll refer to it as "Oval X.")  To my shock and delight, I found that the beer cooler was stocked with not only YonaYona, which could possibly be my favorite Japanese craft beer, but also the pale ale's IPA little brother, Ao Oni. 

I was first introduced to Ao Oni about 5 years ago when I was planning a yoga event at a progressive cafe that had it on the menu.  At that point I'd never seen an IPA in Japan.  The cafe owner told me that you could only buy it online.  Later that day I found the website and saw that it was only sold at the auction site Rakuten a few times a year.  Amazingly, that very night was one of those times. 

At the auction start of 11:59 I ordered myself two cases, and went to bed.  The next morning, I decided to get a third case, and when I went back online, I saw that all 100 cases had sold out in seven minutes.

And now the same beer was available anytime, and just up the street.

But all things must pass, and like the end of a summer romance, Ao Oni and "Oval X" parted ways, promising to write.

Disheartened by the usual array of identical mainstream beers, I wandered with bowed head into the local sake shop next door, and found amongst a dozen craft beers the one-fanged smiling face of the Ao Oni.  Thus I struck up a thrice weekly (more in summer) friendship with the delightful proprietress who never fails to greet me in her politest Kyoto dialect. 

The son however was another story.  He always acted as if her couldn't be bothered about my business,  frowning and acting a bit surly as he stood hulking behind the counter, donning his ever-present blue parka and wool cap.

But summer has rolled around again, and the son is tanned and smiling in his T-shirts and shorts, now glad for my business as he braces the back of my hand tenderly before dropping my change in to my palm.

Perhaps he just doesn't like cold weather.

On the turntable:  Cat Stevens, "New Masters"
On the nighttable:  Yoshikawa Eiji, "Taiko"


blaine said...

I would love an IPA right about now.

Sounds so nice. I'll have to find myself a can/bottle of this!

Zacky Chan said...

DUUUUUDE! I always get a HUGE smile on my face and buy it no matter what when I see Yona on sale. But I had no idea about this Ao Oni ... how could I have missed this???? Is it really so rare??? For a beer in Japan that gets me more excited than Yona, I'd have to say my favorite is the Shiga Kogen IPA.

ted said...


I've sent you a couple of emails recently, but I'm not sure if you got them.