Not a drop to drink

A dry spell is a hard thing to work through.  It’s not that I’m dependant on beer, that would make me some sort of alcoholic.  It’s just that I happen to relate to those laborers who took their lunch to work with them in a pail, and slaked their thirst with a pint or two of fine ale throughout the day.  Alcohol isn’t welcome on Navy vessels.  We spend out days chugging through our work, and our short, restless nights dreaming of better places, and good friends we’ve left behind. 

For me, that often means I’m brought back to a favorite bar, with a perfectly poured pint of something cool and dark.  I’ve been daydreaming lately of, well, every beer I’ve ever enjoyed.  But more to the point, I’ve been obsessing over a pint of Minoh’s Valentine Imperial Stout.  Japan has many quality breweries offering many fine ales to be consumed, but the one I love more than any other has got to be the Minoh Impy Stout.  Its smooth, creamy body leads you willingly to rich roasted malts, chocolate, milk, coffee beans, and just the right amount of vanilla.  You’re probably thinking to yourself “Sounds nice, but isn’t that what makes up most Imperial Stouts?”  In a word, yes.  The reason this one blows all comers out of the water is that while it’s a seasonal brew released for the Valentine’s holiday, it goes just as well in the sweltering summer heat of a Tokyo evening.  Earlier this year I found myself in Thrash Zone, as I often do, and was blown away by that nights offering.  I have no idea what else the Master was pumping that night, but he had what had to be the last keg of Minoh’s Valentine Beer Imperial Stout on tap this year.  Being a work night, I had limited my intake to two pints, max.  Well, I tried to limit my intake.  The night became a blur after a few rounds and I remember narrowly making my train.  But what a night it was.  I’ve never felt so refreshed by a strong, dark, roasty beer in the middle of a hot summer night than I did that night.  No amount of hops, no amount of citrus, nothing has recharged my body and mind more than those beautiful beers did that night.  This is why, out of all the Baird, Hakusekikan, YoHo, Sankt Gallen, or myriad of other fine brewers well crafted beers, I do firmly claim the Minoh Imperial Stout as my favorite, and the king of them all.  Dry as we are, I remember that night (along with the pints I enjoyed in its proper season) and can feel its bounty energizing my body, and refreshing my mind.  I look forward to my next encounter with this ale, thankfully I have a good idea when it should be released…

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