Ninth Beer of Christmas, Echigo Brewery, Niigata Koshihikari

Today’s beer is made by the Echigo Brewery that I highlighted Flying IPA earlier in the beers of Christmas. This lager is a repackaging of the brewery’s regular line up beer Niigata Koshihikari. The art work on the can highlights the characters or mascots of the towns in Niigata. In the Japanese culture there is a whimsicalness that exist in an otherwise straightlace society. This is best seen with the rising trend of creating yuru-kyara or cartoon mascots for towns, businesses and even the military. For American audiences these can be closely related to the sports mascots. The mascots listed on the can come from Murakami City, Ojiya City, Itoigowa City, Tsubame City, Kashiwazaki City, Sado City, Tochio City, and Joetsu City. Each character highlights an animal, character trait or historical figure from the city it represents.

Very clean white cracker aroma. Little to no hops scent. The beer has a good white head that quickly dissipates to wisps of bubbles on the top of the glass. Light golden color that is very clear (read a newspaper through) . Sporadic carbonation bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Lager yeast flavor but the body was much more filling. There was almost a slight ropiness to the first sip. The fuller body left an aftertaste of lingering sweetness. Although this is a lager brewed in Japan with Japanese rice I would classify this more in the American extract lager for the fuller body and lingering aftertaste.

Similar to the yuru-kyara there is a tradition of crazy hamburgers being served. With names such as The John Wayne Burger, Trump Burger and Elvis burger they highlight the excess of the United States by combining crazy toppings such as whole fried eggs, waffles and bananas. These are especially common outside of US military bases in Yokosuka and Sasabo, Japan. I would pair this beer with one of those burgers. The lager characteristics would help cut the fat of the hamburger and the fuller body will allow the beer to hold its own to the bold taste of the burger.

Beer Information: Can, Canning Date (unknown), Expiration Date (2023/04/24), Made from foreign malt/hops/rice, ABV 5%, SRM (none listed but would judge about an 16-18 SRM)

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