Orion, Okinawa’s Craft The Draft.

In 1957 Sosei Gushiken started a brewery on the island of Okinawa to develop industry on the island in the post-war Japan. Originally the company brewed a German lager beer but changed to an American lager to better compete for business. For years the beer was a uniquely Okinawian beer. Popularity spread with US military service members who were stationed on Okinawa. In 2002 the company partnered with Asahi, another Japanese brewery, to increase distribution off the island. The people of Okinawa have really taken on the brand. A wide variety of products from cups to hats to t-shirts have the Orion logo emblazoned on them. When we arrived to the island we received a welcome food and necessities in an Orion bag.

American-style Lager 5% ABV

The smell of strong white bread maltiness is the dominant aroma. A light yeast smell is also detected within the bread aroma. The smell of warm baked bread is the dominant characteristic. The beer pours with a white head of small and tiny bubbles. This dissipates slowly into a thin film on the glass. A thin beer lace develops on the glass as the beer is consumed. A gentle stream of carbonation bubbles comes up from the bottom of the glass. Extremely clear straw color. Full carbonation for the mouthfeel. There is a floral flavor from the hops but as the glass warms more of an earthy aroma and flavor come through. The beer has a very sharp dry finish. There is no lingering aftertaste.

For this beer pairing I am not doing the traditional pairing with a meal. Bar culture is big in japan and this includes bar foods. For Japan this is normally items such as Asian pickles, takiyaki or yakitori. Since the pandemic began I have had a sourdough yeast starter on the kitchen counter. Sourdough crackers made with discarded yeast starter, butter, flour and salt make a nice bar pairing with this beer. The flavors compliment each other nicely with the breadiness of the yeast starter and flour. The butter and salt deliver a crisp finish front the beer. The beer and chips provide a great back drop for an enjoyable night with friends.

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