By Steve Morton
Zakkoku Weizen, is, as the fine gentleman in Devilcraft in Tokyo explain it when serving, a pint with a "good grain character" as all good 'weizen' beers should be.
Using millet and a number of other grains to produce the traditionally cloudy, off-yellow hue so typical of German weizen (wheat) beers during its production, this fine Saitama Prefecture tipple is one to go out of your way to find. It makes for both the perfect thirst quencher to kick off a night of ale appreciation on hot summer eves, and even had the potential to warm the proverbial cockles on cooler autumn days.
Coming in at 5.5% alcohol it is not too strong (most Japanese beers are around 5% alcohol) and is a native of the Mugizakkokukobo Microbrewery* in Ogawa Town in north central Saitama; an area known historically more for local paper production than any other industry.
A slight 'bite' when first hitting the taste buds soon mellows to leave a very satisfying aftertaste that begs out for another tickling of the tonsils with a further mouthful.
Zakkoku necked when eating is well matched to light tasting dishes such as salads or - if making a trip to Kanda to Devilcraft - their delightfully tasty Utsunomiya gyoza (dumplings) from over the Saitama border in Tochigi Prefecture.
At home try tofu topped with leek and ginger, perhaps a simple pizza sans anything too strong like salami or anchovies, but if the possibility arises, this is far more of a sitting and chilling kind of a pint more suited to warm afternoons on the balcony and on its own!
A real thinking man’s beer, and one of a number of locally brewed Saitama beers, as is the Hanyu Kobushi Beer , the Zakkoku Weizen has not yet been spotted in stores and supermarkets. If you do see it on your travels in Saitama, let us know!
* the good folks at Mugizakkokukobo also produce a rather fine porter and very tasty blueberry ale - worth keeping an eye out for.
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I am a country boy transplanted from Wisconsin in the USA to central Gifu Prefecture.The main focus of my life in Japan has been to introduce people to the world and the world to local communities and culture through international exchanges and educational programs. My hope is that people will hang a right at Nagoya, get off the beaten path and explore Gifu...what I call The Jewel of Discoveries.アメリカの田舎で育った男、岐阜県の田舎に引っ越しました。ジャスティン・ダートです。僕の日本での生活は「世界を紹介し、世界の地域における文化と生活を、国際交流や教育プログラムを通して紹介する」という目標です。観光客が名古屋で右を曲がって、岐阜県の旅を試してみたいという希望を持っています。岐阜県：発見の宝。多年前，我从美国的乡村搬到日本岐阜県的中部。現在我最大的志向是向本地人介绍世界各地的文化及把当地文化介绍给世界各地的人。通过国际交流和教育方案，我希望會有更多的人开始去探索岐阜県的美丽与文化。