Kunino Cho Beer, Takatsuki • 國の長ビール、高槻

Would you believe my dad found this one before me. Determined to try every beer available in Japan he'd run himself dry one day, and somehow 'came across' a Morimoto bottle shop near Hankyu Takatsuki Station in his unstoppable beer hunting endeavors. He'd never seen Kunino Cho before (it wasn't Asahi, or Kirin, or Suntory, or Sapporo either).

Kansai has a few kick ass microbreweries, Kunino Cho being one of them. It's in Takatsuki city as well (close to Hankyu Tonda • 富田). I feel a close attachment now, as I'm a Takatsuki-shi resident myself! They're originally a sake brewery, but they also do their beers really well.

As to the taste, I was surprised at the clear refinement of the Kolsch Type Draft (white label). It was a very refreshingly clean. The All Type Draft (red label) was a delightful amber color and more full in flavor. I don't pretend to be a beer critic, but I know that I enjoyed Kunino Cho Beer, and I will be headed back for some more.

Although it can be quite expensive, it's worth supporting your local Kansai breweries just so they don't get swallowed up by the 4 giants in Japan. Honestly, what's 'expensive' is highly debatable when it comes to good beer. Recently I've been thinking that pouring money into the big breweries for the same old beer is getting EXPENSIVE. I'd rather pay more and enjoy it these days.

If you're a beer lover, I recommend you keep your eye on the Japan Craft Beer Association's web page, and also bento.com (which has great beer reviews). Kuninocho shows up at most beer events around Kansai.

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