Kodawariya Sakai Rye Lager by Sakai Harvest Hill
With over 300 licensed breweries in Japan, it can be daunting to find and try a taste from each one. Many of these breweries are very local and are sometimes used to compliment other attractions in the area. Harvest Hill is one such place, located in Sakai city in southern Osaka with its own unique brewery located inside an agricultural park of the same name.
Part of the Farm Corporation group of farming-based theme parks, Sakai Harvest Beer is sold in most of their parks all over Japan at least in bottles. Keep in mind that the parks’ primary focus is as a family-friendly tourist attraction, getting a feel of the outdoors with hands-on activities, petting zoos, and horse riding. Meaning that the beer is not a main attraction but rather a good compliment to a unique style of park.
Their Kodawariya Sakai Rye Lager is an enjoyable rye lager with a clean look and feel that is balanced. Starting off with heavy notes of malt and a bready smell, this beer poured yellow-orange, darker that other lagers and with a characteristic reddish rye colour.
The taste of this surprisingly delicate beer was sweeter than anticipated with a healthy amount of fruity flavours. A spicy, bready aftertaste soon helped balance the sweetness leaving me wanting to get another drink right away. Overall, a very well balanced rye beer that if anything had a lighter body than I would have liked.
Style: Rye Lager
Author's Notes: Rye is becoming more common in Japanese beer recently with a few breweries incorporating their own home-grown grains into the brews. If you have never had a rye lager before, ease yourself in with the Kodawariya Sakai Rye Lager and then try more full-bodies if the unique flavours of the rye piqued your interest.
As mentioned above this beer (and some of the other Sakai Harvest Hill beers) are available at many of the Farm Corporation group agricultural theme parks. This particular bottle was obtained on a recent trip to such a place in Ibaraki prefecture and was well received in our group BBQ session.