Umami Monster by Garage Project of New Zealand

13559085_10103362744245540_4147736811326632652_o 13528573_10103362744330370_6467276501418054591_o 13528422_10103362744215600_5564032141702915854_oRating: 5/5

Umami Monster by Garage Project of New Zealand is a 9% ABV Herbed/ Spice Brown Ale brewed with Kelp, Bonito and Seawater.

It came from the deep. Brewed for GABS 2014, using New Zealand grown Kombu (kelp), Japanese Katsuobushi (dried fermented bonito flakes), smoked malt and seawater in an attempt to capture that most elusive and enigmatic of flavours – umami. Far beyond the boundaries of the accepted and expected, these ingredients combine to create a monster of dark savoury smoke and rich umami complexity. Dear God – what have we created? Definitely not suitable for vegans – sorry.

About Garage Project
We’re a small craft brewery located in an old petrol
station in Wellington, New Zealand. We like pushing
boundaries, reinterpreting styles and challenging
the notions of what craft beer can be. We’re here to
try something new. Just like you.


I obtained this brew along with some other brews I got from When I saw the label on this one I was like oh shit! I had to get it. Being a huge fan of the King of Monsters, Godzilla! I looked into it further. Being made with actual fish flakes, sea water and kelp, it was definitely the sea monster themed beer that I would have never thought would exist. Therefore, to take my chances at the beer and see how these ingredients would work with a beer I brought it to the site. Now as we take on this monster let’s see what we can find, cheers!

Chocolate, anise, soy sauce, molasses, dark fruit raisins, cherries, plums, plum sauce, campfire smoked malts, earthy notes, rich rye bread, citrus oranges, tangerine gummies, Seaweed paper, sushi notes, fish hints, coffee, caramel, vanilla, sea salt chocolate, tamarind and herbs.

Seaweed paper, sushi notes, fish notes, oregano, basil, caramel, Edamame green beans, toffee, coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, sea salt chocolate, salty tejuino maize drink, tamarind, dark fruit raisins, cherries, soy sauce, molasses, anise, maple syrup, ginger spice, garlicky notes, cinnamon, coriander spice, cumin, clove spice, campfire smoked malts, earthy notes, rich rye bread, citrus oranges, tangerine gummies and butterscotch.

Finishing off with sea salt, chocolate, dark fruit cherries, soy sauce, vanilla, caramel, earthy hops aned mild coffee. No alcohol in the taste, Crimson Brown clear to hazy dark body, crisp, smooth and rich mouthfeel along with an easy to moderate drinkability.

Let me be honest, you really have to have an open mind for this one and one who loves delicious Japanese cuisine. If not, then this beer may not be for you and frankly, this is review will be biased as my tastes and cultural interest get blended into this beer. This is the perfect Umami beer! Simple as that. I have never had a fishy beer like this but I definitely want to try it again and pair it with a dish like Ramen, Sushi or any other Asian cuisine. This beer is damn legit and highly recommended as a pairing for meals!

Anime Corner:
King of Monsters, Godzilla and his Kaiju co-stars are presented in today’s review all done by gamerag3 It wasn’t hard to choose what made sense with the label and the theme of the pairing but the hard part was finding an awesome anime picture with Godzilla anthropomorphized into an anime girl. Especially one that was done well and was really bad ass. So these pictures made the best pairings in my mind.


Rosabi by Dogfish Head brewing

1620651_10102245349308950_3380873172692238478_nRating: 4.5/5

Rosabi by Dogfish Head brewing is an 8% ABV Imperial American Pale Ale brewed with Wasabi.

The vivid rose hue of this imperial Pale Ale comes from a combination of Munich and Caramel malts and a touch of red rice from Louisiana, birthplace of musician and collaborator Julianna Barwick. Citrusy Simcoe and Centennial feed Julianna’s love of hops, and the star of the show is her go-to ingredient: wasabi. What’s hoppy? … Wasabi. The Japanese root adds bittering and herbal notes similar to hops, with its subtle heat creeping in after the kick of carbonation. It’s expansive from start to finish. So go ahead, take a sip, toss your head back, and howl at the red Rosabi moon.


Now this is a Dogfish Head beer that really intrigued me. After seeing this one at, and the fact that I am a Sushi and Wasabi fanatic, It didn’t take me long to just go on ahead and get this beer. The only unfortunate part is, they only allow you to purchase 1 bottle from the site. This was devastating since I know some good friends who would probably enjoy this beer. I really hope they release this one to all states that sell Dogfish Head. Not sure if this is a gimmick or not but I have never tried a Wasabi beer and this is definitely a great way to explore the vast world of the Lost treasure of beer experience. Cheers!

Rich caramel malt forward, wasabi notes, citrus and grapefruit hops, mango, grapes, hazelnut, rye bread, butterscotch, toffee, dragon fruit, brown sugar, cherries, chocolate hints, coriander spice, toffee, peanut brittle, hibiscus flowers, pineapple and rice cakes.

Subtle but not burning green Wasabi, citrus and grapefruit hops, caramel, grapes, hazelnut, rye bread, peanut brittle, toffee, oranges, mango, peaches, pineapple, chocolate notes, dragon fruit, coriander spice, mild wasabi spice as the beer warms up, apples, brown sugar, rice, cherries, hibiscus flowers, biscuit bread, toasted coconut and vanilla.

Lots of Caramel, citrus and grapefruit hops, wasabi notes in the backbone, sweet toffee rye, peanut brittle, hazelnut and mainly malty finish. No alcohol in the taste, crimson ruby rose medium body, moderate drinkability with a silky mouthfeel.

Drinking more like an Amber Ale, this beer is really very good. There is no heat but if you know the subtle taste of wasabi, it is there but mild enough to be very enjoyable. It starts with the Wasabi flavor and then moves into a world of sweetness and hoppy goodness. There seems to be more sweetness than hoppy though which could be attributed to the malty sweetness cutting the Wasabi extreme heat. I can only hope that this beer and Sushi would be the ultimate combination which makes me want to have another bottle. I can only recommend this one if you would like a more maltier Pale Ale. There isn’t nothing wrong with that and I generally enjoy sweeter beers more, but I love me some super bitter hops too. So there you have it, Wasabi with some hop bitterness and drinks more like an Amber. Maybe not quite what you’d expect but still a very good beer.

Anime Corner:
Flandre Scarlet from Touhou Project was used in this pairing since I wanted to pair the label of the ruby red moon as well as the green colors of wasabi which you can see by the diamonds. Since this beer is more on the sweeter side than what I had expected, the apple Scarlet is chewing on represent this as well as the fact that this beer is more of an Amber ale than a Pale Ale. However, despite the fact that Wasabi is extreme, maybe how it worked with this beer, it cut all the other bitter hops and cancelled its own spiciness to get to this. This is why Scarlet looks innocent but her burning eyes state another story.


Cho-tokkyu (The Cider “Super Express/Bullet Train”) by Crispin Cider Company

582061_10101370715537040_1152586743_nRating: 4.8/5 *Cider Rating

Cho-tokkyu or Choutokkyu (The Cider “Super Express/Bullet Train”) Artisanal Reserve by Crispin Cider Company is a 6.5% ABV Cider Fermented in Sake yeast and organic rice syrup.

Naturally fermented with authentic Sake yeast using a premium blend of fresh pressed apple juice, not from concentrate, with no added malt, spirit, or grape alcohol. A racy, high-speed cider that remains crisp and well balanced. Cloudy and straw colored with an exotic polished complexity. Cho-tokkyu is clean, vibrant with an authentic dry sake finish and a distinctive apple backbone. Cho-tokkyu Artisanal Reserve cloudy hard cider is unfiltered and uses racked apple wine smoothed with pure organic, gluten free, rice syrup. No added colorants, sorbate or benzoate preservatives. Best served cool to cold. As with all our Artisanal Reserves, give a full bottoms-up tilt and swirl to disperse unfiltered apple-wine sediment evenly.

Next in the line of sought after ciders I have tried. Many of them awesome, like the ones that use Irish Stout and Trappist yeast and even the Whiskey barrel aged ones. Simply phenomenal and delicious. Yes it may be made by Coors, but Ciders tend to be on a league of their own. This one is made with Sake yeast. I have tried many sake before I am familiar with the taste and the smell. Also, this beer unlike many ciders I have seen is actually more clearer white than yellow. Almost a Lemonade kind of color,

The aromas are of sake for sure, rice, apples, vanilla notes, sugar dough, and hints of coconut. Not much to the aromas but these little aromas a pretty dead on.

The sake notes in the flavor definitely shine as well as the bit of milky rice and vanilla notes. The cider has flavors of apples, slight earthy bitterness, melons, small hints of coconut but extremely subtle, chia seed juice, citrus hints, cinnamon, tapioca pudding, sweet bread and honey.

The aftertaste is pretty dry leaving only a little bit of the apple, rice and milky coconut aftertaste. Not much alcohol to talk about either but it definitely goes down smooth and is quite refreshing

Overall it is a very good cider. Maybe not as complex as the other ones but this one started getting a lot better as it warmed up. Some more notes of like doughy red bean ice cream, tapioca and milky coconut started to come out which made it very enjoyable. Hell, even some horchata notes in there too  . Definitely a different cider for sure.

Kurofune Porter by Baird Beer

24640_10101140014598570_121548260_nRating: 4.6/5

Kurofune Porter by Baird Beer of Japan is a 6% Baltic Porter

Kurofune (means “Black Ships”) was the word the Japanese used to describe the American gunboats that came to open Japan to western trade. Kurofone Porter is sleek and forceful, but leaves a winning bittersweet taste of chocolate and coffee on the tongue. “Do not resist the superior might; cunningly acquiesce, and embrace.” Kampai!

Baird Beer is brewed at the foot of Mount Fuji by Japan’s pioneering craft brewery. Lovingly and authentically crafted, it is unfiltered, re-fermented in the bottle, and naturally carbonated. Please drink contemplatively, Beer Drinker-san.

I haven’t had a chance to review a lot of the Japanese beers (which I should seeing as my website sure has a lot of “Japanese” influence 😉 ) Anyways, I decided I finally give this a go. The fragrance of this beer is very nice. Starts with fragrances like bakers chocolate berries and raisins, molasses, coffee, slight banana, slight hazelnut and caramel. The flavors are of milk chocolate, molasses, raisins, blackberries cherries, coffee, mocha, roasted malt notes, hazelnut, slight soy taste and some earthy hop notes to it as well. Stuff like this makes me wonder how craft beer and sushi would be like. Some of the beers like Asahi black and others go great with sushi. However, I am thinking some craft beer, especially from Japan would make great pairings for sushi. Anyways, if you can find this little bottle of amazing go get it. It is a very good porter. Oishi desuyo!!! ^_^