Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pouring Beer, the Kirin Way

Kirin Ichiban
Not only does my wife not disapprove of my beer habit (probably because I have managed to lose about four kilograms since moving to Japan), but she even encourages it.

To wit:

She came home excitedly last Friday, after a tour of the Kirin Brewery (established in Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama in 1907 with help from Thomas Glover, the Scottish trader), claiming that not only had the tour left her with a powerful thirst for the juices of the barley, but that she had also mastered a fell new pouring technique that was guaranteed (she claimed) to increase the flava four-fold fo' sho!

So I picked up the Asahi "All Malt Beer" sampler pack last night, and Lyani demonstrated the secret Kirin pouring technique, which I shall now reveal to you, oh fortunate reader of my blog, since I fear not the Kirin ninja that are surely being dispatched to dispatch me, even as you read these very words!

Oh yeah, the pouring technique. Here goes:

1. Find yourself a fine beer mug.
2. Purchase a good lager or pilsner--stout requires a slightly different pouring technique.
3. Set the glass in a well-lit place and open the can of beer.
4. Position the can about a centimetre (half an inch, roughly) above the rim of the glass and start pouring.
5. Immediately move the can 12-15 centimetres (about five to six inches, I think) above the rim, still pouring. (Actually, the only reason that you start lower is to prevent spilling, which is a mortal sin, you see.)
6. As soon as the head rises near the top of the glass, stop pouring. You should have exhausted between a third and a half of a normal 350 mL can (12 oz, right?).
7. Wait for the head to settle so that the glass is half beer, half head.
8. Start pouring again, starting from a centimetre or two and immediately raising the can to 12-15.
9. Stop pouring when the head threatens to overflow the glass.
10. Wait again, this time until the glass is four parts beer to only one part head.
11. Position the can about two centimetres above the rim, right in the middle of the glass, and pour slowly into the centre of the head.
12. Pour until you empty the can or the head gets too high, whichever comes first. Because of the way you pour, the head should be concave, and it should safely sit almost two centimetres above the rim of the glass. Purty!
13. Wait! I know it looks good, but wait maybe 20 seconds for the head to settle before taking your first pull.
14. Put your lips on the rim of the glass and drink deeply. Make sure not to drink the head; let it hit your upper lip and form a tasty moustache, which you should feel free to loudly slurp off only after you have put your glass down.

Enjoy responsibly!

Leave it to the Japanese to engineer every process down to the most efficient. :)

2 comments:

SFB said...

Holy crap that really was the way they described it? Did they have Delyana sit in seiza while doing this? I love Japan I wouldn't be suprised if they created a special beer house where they do the Shinto beer ritual whereby you cleanse the beer glass.

I think you should update this whole process though. After you pour the beer the first time, every time after right before you pour again you should rotate the glass 180 degrees... err or however it is they do the tea ceremony.

matthew said...

Heh, heh. I've seen that pouring thing before. In a hostess bar.(Okay, it was a TV doc, I don't have the $$$ to go into a place like that). Guys be warned - you probably shouldn't do the "super pour" for another guy in Japan. They may think that you have some experience at one of those "okama" places....