Japanese beer heads cause Westerners to froth at the mouth

Japanese beer heads cause Westerners to froth at the mouth

TOKYO —

Recently we ran a report on how Japanese netizens expressed their outrage over the way a Korean pop star chooses to eat her instant noodles. Now it seems that the international outrage shoe is on the other foot as Japan has drawn the western stink eye over how they like to enjoy their beer.

At the center of this controversy is an innocent advert for Jokki Hour (a puny mistranslation of “Foam Jockey”). Jokki Hour is actually a cleverly designed beer mug that has a lever attached. When you push the lever the cup creates a head on the beer. Not a bad idea in itself, but I think it’s the advertisement that turns Westerners off. Let’s take a look.

To the average viewer who resides outside of Japan this looks like a bunch of people losing it over giving their beer way too much head. The scene where the little girl claps at her parents giving themselves an extra dose of beer foam pretty much sums up how they see Japanese people and beer: immature drinkers who think “bubbles are fun.”

At least that’s the gist of the comments this promotional video attracted. “Ohhh Japan…”; “Why?”; and “Can someone get Japanese people a real beer?” were among the comments of bewildered beer lovers.

If we take the issue of appropriate beer head to extremes then it’s easier to see what’s going on. We can all readily agree that no foam at all is no good. It conjures images of stale, flat disappointment. Since we all know that some head is necessary the real cultural difference is where to draw the line.

Western people are willing to put up with a certain amount of foam to meet their aesthetic needs, but generally have a low tolerance. There are a few reasons for this. Most importantly, we feel that foam shouldn’t take up too much real-estate in the glass reserved for actual beer. And while foam is pleasing to the eye, its flavor is almost nonexistent; it gets on your face; and is just an obstruction to the main event.

On the other hand, Japanese drinkers place a very high value on freshness, and they feel that the more head on the beer, the fresher it is. Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well and can get more satisfaction from the taste of foam than we usually do.

Basically this all boils down to a case of different strokes for different folks. And while I too shudder at the image of a pint that’s 40% head, I can appreciate the concept behind Jokki Hour. I’ve been in more than a few beer tents where the beer was so stale you could waterproof a patio with it.  So don’t guffaw the product based solely on how other cultures use it, give it a try for yourself.

RocketNews24

  • 15

    Hategobo

    Perhaps its the desire to get what you paid for. If I order a pint of beer I expect to get a pint, not half beer and half froth. In the UK there is a white line on the side of the glass that denotes the level liquid beer must reach to make a pint. Between that line and the rim is the "froth zone"

  • 13

    KariHaruka

    More beer and less froth please! Like what Hategobo said you are paying for the beer not the froth.

  • 15

    genkigonzo

    Not only that, but especially in Japan it is not natural froth at the top of beer. They pour the draught beer to a certain level, then push the tap the other way to create the head..."Awa sukoshi kudosai"...best Japanese I've ever learned.

  • -14

    sunhawk

    beer is supposed to have a head, and you are supposed to drink the beer from under the head. the bubbles keep the rest of the beer protected from oxygen which will affect the flavor.

  • 63

    JeffLee

    Japanese drinkers place a very high value on freshness..Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette.

    i don't agree with that at all. The popular Japanese beers contain starch and rice, bad for freshness and the palette. The world's "fresh" beers, like micro beers, organic, unpasteurized beer etc. are original products of Europe and the US and only recently have caught on in Japan.

    The country that gave us cup noodles and canned coffee from vending machines is not a country that values freshness.

  • 8

    Tomasz Stasinski

    JeffLee, if only I could give you more than one thumb-up...

  • 2

    Hategobo

    @sunhawk Of course beer should have a head, but not excessive, I think that is the point in question. I cannot imagine I would survive long if I drew a "Pint of Guinness" with a 3 inch head for Paddy and his pals. Yes I know Guinness is a stout but you get my point :)

  • 27

    paulinusa

    " Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well..."

    Doubt if there's any science to back that up. Another example of "We're different from everyone else".

  • 17

    ThonTaddeo

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well and can get more satisfaction from the taste of foam than we usually do.

    1. The metaphoric words for your sense of taste is your "palate", that is, part of the roof of your mouth; a "palette" is a board on which artists put their paint.

    2. More sensitive? Says who? Does this have something to do with intestine length?

  • 13

    plasticmonkey

    I once asked the Kirin City staff to pour me a beer with less head, and they refused. "It's our way," they explained. The "tradition" of lots of foam comes from trying to cut costs, I suspect. As is the tradition of arranging the paltry contents of a sandwich on the outer edge to make you think you're getting more than you are.

    Western people are willing to put up with a certain amount of foam to meet their aesthetic needs, but generally have a low tolerance.

    By the way Rocket News24, Western people are not a homogeneous group. There are various ways that "non-Japanese" people enjoy their beer, ranging from foamy to flat.

  • 10

    Tamarama

    Too much head is a scandalous practice. If I'm ordering a Daijokki, I don't expect to simply get a bigger glass filled with more foam - Japanese drinkers place a very high value on freshness.Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette. sounds like Izakaya propaganda that allows them to half fill beer mugs to me. A pint where I'm from might have 1-2cm of head - entirely sufficient, for mine.

  • 3

    johninnaha

    The best place for beer in Japan is Sapporo. Sapporo beer tastes great there. There are some really good microbreweries - North Island, Susukino beer, and of course there is the living legend, Phred Kaufmann. Any beer lover has to visit Mugishutei with its stock of 300 kinds of beer.

    I've never had the froth problem in Hokkaido.

  • 5

    ReaperInc

    Here in the Netherlands I always drink my beer right from the bottle (unless is some real special beer) since then there is no foam. In bars the give too much head on the beer in my opinion. Luckily the English do not follow this practice with their pints, lots of foam on it, but they just keep on filling the glass up with the real stuff until almost no foam is left. That's the good way.

  • -30

    globalwatcher

    Japanese beer is the best in the world! No doubt!

    This time when I was in Japan, I loved watching Sapporo Premium Beer commercial done by Ichiro and a girl. She is so cute saying to Ichiro " You have repeated Germany twice!" with a big smile on her face. I sure would like to know her name. She looks very genuine and beautiful.

  • 4

    OMGhontoni

    An inch of foam, and please dont whip my glass away when there is still an inch of beer left in the bottom. Thats all I ask.

  • 1

    cactusJack

    Shakey's Pizza is the worst. Half head, half beer, and the head does not even reach the top of the glass.

  • 18

    borscht

    If "we Japanese" prefer freshness and have a unique palate, why do 'we' insist on a machine to make bubbles in our beer? Shouldn't the fresh beer provide its own?

  • 13

    sillygirl

    ah, the unique japanese paying unique money for unique culture of unique 6 inches of foam. so unique.

  • 6

    zichi

    Guinness without a head. Never.

  • 0

    PeaceWarrior

    I didn't think there was such a thing as 'way too much head'.

  • -3

    SpeakJaplish

    We all like a certain amount of head.... I have been fighting the awa thing for years. I've heard it all. Just give me a decent level of beer. How about slurping? You have to slurp your noodles because it taste better? Hot noodles I understand, but cold noodles......? I been told many times that even the cold noodles tastes better when slurped. Easier yes, taste better I have to disagree. Enjoy your foam because that's the way it is. Shoganai!

  • 27

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    Japanese people...can get more satisfaction from the taste of foam than we usually do.

    Translation: Japanese people will take whatever they're given by a Japanese company and make-believe they're unique in being able to find joy in something with no flavour.

    Savouring bubbles of air. Sorry, but unless you're trapped underwater, you really ought to aim for a better standard of what's enjoyable.

  • -1

    gyouza

    German beer has a healthy head - so the conclusion (for me) is that mabye the majority of the people wanting less head are either British (absolutely no head please) or US (comes out of a bottle anyway, so can't see the head). But as pointed out, way too much generalisation.

  • -1

    gyouza

    Shakey's Pizza is the worst. Half head, half beer, and the head does not even reach the top of the glass.

    Surprises me actually. Top class joint there!

  • 1

    HarryHillLover

    Well requesting less head on your beer is all very well. When I did it once they gave me a glass with no head, but it was only half full. Rather than a head thing, it's a just way for the seller to squeeze money out of their unwitting customers.

  • 2

    snackswithbeer

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well

    ha ha. another mastercard moment on japan today. surely this has got to be deliberate... no other professional explanation suffices.

  • 6

    wipeout

    Western people are willing to put up with a certain amount of foam to meet their aesthetic needs, but generally have a low tolerance.

    It's almost too obvious to point this out, but both beer and Westerners are produced in a variety of different styles.

    For example, pictures of the Munich beer festival show beers served with large heads. Traditionally, three of the best countries for beer are Germany, Belgium, and Britain, and each is different from the other when it comes to how beer is brewed and drunk. There's also huge variation within each of those markets.

    It really is pointless trying to say how "Westerners" prefer their beer.

    Beer in Japan (if it's from the big four) is neither very good nor very bad, it's about the same level as any pisswater lager to be found in just about any country in the world, including some notable beer-loving countries like Australia, NZ and Canada. Quibbling about the size of the head is an exercise in futility, and if the local custom is to serve it a certain way, go with it.

  • -9

    ubikwit

    beer issues aside for the moment

    The country that gave us cup noodles and canned coffee from vending machines is not a country that values freshness.

    the japanese are also the people who brought the world sushi and green tea.

    i'd say your statement misses the forest for the trees.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please. The subject is beer.

  • 1

    Wolfpack

    I've been to a few Irish or English type bars in Japan that were able to serve a proper pint of beer - in my opinion. A very small amount of foam at the top is all that's needed. You will know on your first sip whether or not it's fresh or not. Beer styles and tastes are different in different places so I don't get too worked up over the extraneous foam in my daijokey. However, I can't help be agree that the reason for it is to up the profit margin a bit. I would prefer to have a smaller glass instead.

  • 1

    mikemiro

    I couldn't agree more - have had beer handed to me at the Hub that was half foam & demanded they re-pour. It always surprises me how gullible people here are. As in this case, believing Japanese beer marketer's claims that foamy = fresh. There is a lesson to be learned here. If you want your crap product to sell in Japan, package it in an aesthetically pleasing way, pay some cute or well-respected Japanese celebrity to endorse your product & then have a bunch of talent-oh debate the benefits of the product to the Japanese people on a chat program & voila! watch your revenue rise!

  • -13

    avantarinac

    japanese beer taste as bad as sushi taste in western world. thats not beer thats flavoured water in japan and expensive too.

  • -1

    Mocheake

    It's called "beer" for a reason. If I wanted a half a glass of foam, I wouldn't ask for "beer." I suspect many establishments are just trying to be stingy by putting a large head on beer and they have convinced the majority of the general population that that is the best way to enjoy it. Bull.

  • 2

    NeoJamal

    Well, this is the first article I've read that complains about getting too much holy crap that's a lot of white stuff in that mug!

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    The head on beer here is yet another example of how Japanese value package image over product. I've talked to heaps of Japanese people over many a beer about this and they say it doesn't look delicious if there is no foam. Well, I'm sorry, but you could paint a turd a pretty colour and it still won't taste good (I would guess). Even from a sales perspective the whole head thing is a major waste of money -- they pour a perfectly good beer with little or no head and then suddenly reverse the tap so that they get a bunch of foam in the beer, with probably 50 ml or more of beer being blown out before they wipe off the jokki and hand it to you. If you sit and let the foam subside you've got 2/3rds of a pint at best. Take a sip, hesitate, and shout 'Ummmmaaaaaiiii!' all you want, it's a total waste.

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    "On the other hand, Japanese drinkers place a very high value on freshness, and they feel that the more head on the beer, the fresher it is."

    Another example of how foolish people can be. What's 'fresh' about a fermented product? Japan places too much importance on image -- which is why the first melon of the season costs $2000 or more, or why an apple is nearly $3, and why the whole 'made in Japan' thing is a farce. I love the variety shows where they ask 'tarento' to taste test crab flavoured minced pollack and then Hokkaido crab, for example, and ask them to say which is the crab; 80% get it wrong. You could slap a 'fresh beer' label on a can of turpentine and people would shout 'umai!' when they tasted it and say how fresh it is (because it says 'fresh').

  • 3

    johninnaha

    You can get an insight into the Japanese discerning palate with regard to beer (sarcasm) when you see someone walk into a bar and order, "Beer please!"

    Would you walk into a restaurant and order, "Food please! Don't care what it is as long as I get a gut full!"?

    Don't get me wrong, there is good beer here, but it's it's an uphill climb for the microbreweries. This is not a huge market, I'm afraid.

  • 1

    Erik Lars

    There's the custom of holding your beer glass while someone pours your beer here in Japan. I take that as an opportunity to TILT the glass to get less head. It's funny when the person pouring pours faster or tries to pour more into the middle of the glass trying to build up a foamy head. Beer bubble battle!

  • -1

    Erik Lars

    Japanese tend to just care about alcohol content. That's why you sometimes see GIGANTIC "5%" or "6%" on cans of beer. Never saw that in the states. Just a tiny, itsy-bitsy "6.8" on a microbrew stout.

  • 10

    gaijinfo

    On the other hand, Japanese drinkers place a very high value on freshness

    I disagree. Japanese put a very high value on the appearance of freshness.

  • 8

    gaijinfo

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette

    No, they like to appear to have a sensitive palette.

  • 0

    wipeout

    What's 'fresh' about a fermented product?

    Quite a lot when it comes to what they call real ale in Britain, hence all the fuss about whether it "travels" well, how it's stored, how it's pumped, etc.

    http://www.camra.org.uk/beerinthepub

  • -4

    billyshears

    If you don`t like "foam", just buy or order a bottle of beer for christsake.

  • 0

    GaroJ

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette

    This must be true, it would explain why so many of the drinks here have such weak flavouring (or is that cheapness?).

  • 5

    HollisBrown

    Obviously the Japanese guy who introduced the 'nama biru' to Japan after a Golden Week sojourn to gaikoku many moons ago wasn't that hot at English as he completely misunderstood 'Happy Awa'.

  • 1

    Platmack

    You say westetners don't like head on their beer? Have you have been to Belguim? Amsterdam? Thought not! Belgium has some of the best beers in the world and the foam is key!

  • 4

    OMGhontoni

    You say westetners don't like head on their beer? Have you have been to Belguim? Amsterdam? Thought not! Belgium has some of the best beers in the world and the foam is key!

    Jeez how hard is it to understand? Not "head". Just not "too much head".

  • 3

    DenTok2009

    @catcusJack I worked at Shakey's and I was taught to pour a perfect draft beer (that's perfect for the Japanese) and I recall thinking who wants that much foam? I don't drink beer but I didn't see why anyone would want pay for a drink that didn't go all the way to the rim! Japanese are all into presentation and as you can see from the beer posters and commercials, foam foam foam is essential in luring the consumer.

  • 2

    bass4funk

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette

    Seriously? If that's true then why is it that most of their "cheap brands" are so popular because I always hear: reasonable price, good taste, or is it my western non-sensitive palette can't taste the "reasonable price, good taste?"

    Also, I thought if I am not mistaken that Japanese beer making was in a way modeled after the German "Reinheits Gebot" I thought I heard something to that extent, if so, then the Japanese really abandoned that strict practice standard.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well and can get more satisfaction from the taste of foam than we usually do.

    Cough, cough, cough.......is the author for real? Or are they just another Nathen Algren wanna-be? I mean seriously, as noted by others here as well. It's beer for cripes sake! Japanese beer like it or not is not that "special" or "different" from other countries MASS produced products.

    All this does is reinforce a MYTH that Japanese people generally speaking here, like to think that THEIR palates are more attune to subtle differences in taste and what not.

    If that were the case the Michelin(sp?) 5 stars would not be from France but would be called (sic) the Sato (Insert popular Japanese name) Stars rating food and drink here.

    Another (over) generality and stereotype that NEEDS to be shot down right quick! But considering that the author is Japanese one can not expect much else right?

  • 1

    Serrano

    "awa sukoshi kudasai"

    Even better - awa nashi onegaishimaaasu!

  • 1

    bicultural

    A beer without head turns stale mighty fast. That picture is a bit extreme, though. I prefer about a 5 : 1 ratio of beer to foam.

  • 1

    yourock

    I've got used to beer with too much head, and when I'm back in the UK it takes a while to appreciate the British pour. My spin on this: you are being ripped off with too much head (instead of beer, which you want) and everyone knows this but heaven forbid anyone actually mentioning this to Taro-kun, or his boss.

  • 3

    USB

    The real issue should be the legality of too much head as far as taxation. The price of beer in Japan and many other countries includes a high percentage of tax. If I order a 500ml mug of beer I expect to pay a certain amount of tax included in the price. If I end up with only 355ml of beer and a frothy, fresh and satisfying head then someone is breaking the law. This is why glasses in many other countries have lines etched in the sides. So next time you are underserved threaten to narc them to the tax collectors. ****

  • 1

    presto345

    You say westetners don't like head on their beer? Have you have been to Belguim? Amsterdam? Thought not! Belgium has some of the best beers in the world and the foam is key!

    Belgium, yes. Has at least 4000 breweries and most of them producing excellent beers. Of course, the monasteries have done that for many centuries, and still do. There is no single rule that governs how beer should be served. But the Belgians know that each different beer ought to be served in its specific suitable glass with its proper head. (Please don't say 'foam'). If you've ever bought bottled beer in Belgium you have noticed the label tells you what glass to drink it from. Apply your own rules? Sure, why not. Drink straight from the bottle or can? Yeah, you can do that with wine or any alcoholic drink, too. I can think of settings where one considers that cool or in. But is it really when you try that in a cafe, bar or restaurant? I doubt it. Different wines are served in different glasses, but there is no head to worry about. Different beers are / should be served in different glasses as well and there is this 'froth' thing. Drinking beer in Japan used to be a social thing with bottles poured out in small glasses preferably by a (female) companion or friend, relative, etc. No room for froth here. But nowadays many have discovered the importance of a proper head on beer in a tall glass or jug or a glass shaped for the beer in question. Remember there are beers and beers. The way they are served and drunk depends on tradition and personal preference.

  • 0

    nec123a

    if you can put more than a shot of whiskey in your beer.... ask the barman to fill the thing up - I always do. Not satisfied, leave the beer and the bar without paying

  • -1

    Ah_so

    Belgium, yes. Has at least 4000 breweries and most of them producing excellent beers.

    presto345, get your feet back on the ground. Belgium has c. 125 breweries. 4000 is a ridiculous number for a country the size of Belgium. There are a bit over 10m people in Belium, so that would be one Brewery for every 2500 people!

  • -1

    Ah_so

    Here is a gross sounding tip for anyone who really cannot bear a huge glass of foam (lets face it, the Japanese only like it that way because they have seen a few photos of Germans drinking beer). Wipe the tip of your finger down the side of your nose then run it over the surface of the head of your beer. It will will quickly reduce to a manageable size, while everyone else is still gagging on a mouthful of foam.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    if you can put more than a shot of whiskey in your beer.... ask the barman to fill the thing up - I always do. Not satisfied, leave the beer and the bar without paying

    Leave a bar without paying? Dumb advice don't you think? Go to jail because you got too much foam and weren't satisfied with the beer?

  • 3

    CopRamen

    Ahhh beer. Waking up this morning reminds me I had a couple (too many-?) last night..

  • 9

    ebisen

    Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well and can get more satisfaction from the taste of foam than we usually do.

    Stupidest generalization of the month...

  • 3

    mrtestsworth

    A beer should have a small head on it, of genuine beer foam, in order to accentuate the aroma of the beer. The Japanese style of pulling back on the beer server to generate foam is nonsense. It is purely how the industrial breweries in Japan have gone about marketing their products. Anything to deflect from the taste and lack of imagination in their beers. They focus on "freshness" and the the size of the head, and "nodogoshi" instead of what malts, what hops what kind of yeast strain, what process was involved in making the beer.

    The reason they do this is because the processes involved with the industrial beer manufactures are just that, industrial and unappealing.

    Luckily Japan has a number of awesome micro-breweries to compensate for this.

  • 0

    Dennis Bauer

    it's a funny Party item and just fill it until 2 fingers and it will give you an nice head, i hope it doesn't lose all its bubbles in the process. uuuuuuooooaaa! :p

  • 1

    Onniyama

    Order bottles I guess.

  • 1

    ubikwit

    mrtestsworth has made some informative comments about the marketing aspect.

    however, those mentioning the economic factor have a point, too, and it should be pointed out to them that the tax in japan on products made from malted barley is the highest in the world, basically. about 10 years ago it stood at 220 yen per liter, and i don't think it has changed. the tax dates back to the meiji era, when it was introduced to protect the domestic sake industry.

    the appearance of the happoshu brews (wbich contain less than 25% malted barley, was aimed at getting around this tax. and since the tax is a big source of revenue to the government, some politicians then voiced a desire to revise the tax in a manner that taxed happoshu at a high level, too.

  • 0

    pontananagoma

    Know ur target market when you do advertising (^_^)☆. It can be understood by Japanese market what you are trying to imply but taboo in other culture .. You have to hire local advertising company for your advertising campaign to be successful.

  • -1

    SenseNotSoCommon

    European beer glasses chiefly have marks indicating where the head should begin, because of Weights and Measures legislation. Depending on the country and its market preference, that line will be closer to, or further from, the rim.

    In Japan, beer volumes (and bars/restaurants pricing/inventory control) are based on market preferences, not a conspiracy to cheat customers.

    Those thinking they are getting ripped off by too much foam should try extending this very subjective and foreign rationale to the next time they get, for example, a plate of spaghetti. Try asking for 20% more.

    Anyone adamant that they should have a full 'pint' should go to British pubs, and enjoy the crap food while you're there!

  • 0

    sf2k

    always order bottles or get cans. When at home enjoy a normal pint

  • -10

    Hôjô Sôun

    Japanese beer is yummy! One thing I love about Japan is we have a way to take foreign foods or drinks and improve them to suit the refined Japanese taste and demands for freshness and quality.

  • 0

    Aqualung

    The only respectable way to get a fresh head on your beer is to finish and refill. Peacewarrior, your comment is true for about half the population. The other half would likely disagree strongly.

  • 0

    Vast Right-Wing Conspirator

    I am not a fan of draft beer in general. If the pub/bar doesn't clean and sterilize their equipment properly, it can lead to some serious health problems for the customers. Somehow, I can't see the staff at the izakaya down the block taking the time to do a proper job in between hooking up kegs of Asahi Super Dry.

    As others have said, go for bottled beer if you want to be sure of what you're getting (and how much). The aforementioned "tilt the glass" trick is a good one at social events where pouring beer for others is the norm. The glasses are small enough as it is (glorified shot glasses) without wasting 1/3 of the space on useless head.

  • 2

    Nessie

    I worked at Shakey's and I was taught to pour a perfect draft beer (that's perfect for the Japanese)

    Perfect for the Japanese owners, maybe.

  • -7

    Hôjô Sôun

    I worked at Shakey's and I was taught to pour a perfect draft beer (that's perfect for the Japanese)

    Perfect for the Japanese owners, maybe.

    No, perfect for Japanese customers.

  • 2

    stuarto

    theres one pub where i spent half of my life, and if you ask for it headless they will give it to you headless...not all japanese people prefer a huge head...

  • 1

    Maitake

    ****>Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette as well and can get more satisfaction from the taste of foam than we usually do.

    Hôjô Sôun

    Japanese beer is yummy! One thing I love about Japan is we have a way to take foreign foods or drinks and improve them to suit the refined Japanese taste and demands for freshness and quality.

    Ignorance is bliss, isn't it Hojo?

    Give me a break... more sensitive palette? refined Japanese taste? LOL like when you add mayonaise and corn to pizza and ketchup to pasta? what makes you so sure you're improving those foreign foods?? Because you get more satisfaction from mayonaise and corn etc on pizza than a "Westerner", does that mean that your palette is more sensitive???

    Having lived in Boulder, Colorado for 6 years and then coming to live in Japan, I was utterly disappointed by the small fortune it costs for a 6 pack of beer... and beer that is subpar at best (crap IMO). If you think Japanese beer is "yummy", then you obviously haven't tried that many other beers. Let's not even get started on ??Happoshu?? If Japanese have such refined tastes, why do they drink fake beer?? Yes, you must have a pretty unique taste if you enjoy happoshu... I drink good bottled beer any time I can, more for enjoying quality beer rather than avoiding head. I do miss a quality microbrew on tap. If it's a good beer, I won't make a fuss if there is a lot of head. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and let's not kid ourselves, Japanese beer is NOT that great.

  • -14

    Hôjô Sôun

    If you think Japanese beer is "yummy", then you obviously haven't tried that many other beers.

    I have, but Japanese is the best for me! There is a quality that refreshes us in a way that other beer cannot.

  • 0

    bookowls

    This ad wouldn't put me off Japanese beer - they manage to put me off it enough when they show someone drinking it with the loud gulping noises! Just so unnecessary!! Makes me want to puke to be honest!

    As for the head of a beer, you can simply say "Ow wa nashi, kudasai" (泡なしください) which means "No bubbles please", and is understood as saying you don't want a head on your beer. I've never had a problem in any bar or restaurant when asking them to bring my beer without a head on it.

  • 3

    Balefire

    The mug idea is a novelty, that might even be useful for people who let their beer sit for long enough to lose its head. That wouldn't be a problem for most of the people I know, Japanese or not.

    As for having sensitive palates: if that were true with respect to beer, the dreadful Asahi Super Dry would not be such a big seller.

  • 5

    ukguyjp

    "Japanese people tend to have a more sensitive palette..."

    I think whoever wrote this means "palate." In any case it's complete nonsense.

  • 2

    EZTokyo

    No foam for me. I don't nurse a beer. I drink it fast enough that it won't get warm or flat.

    But I would totally rather have a coctail. Better taste, no bloating, burping, excessive trips to the restroom, and yet you can get just as drunk. And no foam mustache either.

  • 0

    maninjapan79

    I've heard that the way the Japanese beer is poured comes from the Germans whose beer's naturally have a larger head than English / American beers. They have ever since (mistakenly) equated a good beer with a big head, despite their major beers being more suited to an English style pour. Interesting that the author never made mention of this. German beer glasses, however are made with this in mind. So a pint still has a pint of beer in it.

  • 0

    maninjapan79

    bookowls, you are one of the lucky ones then. While I agree many places are happy to accommodate, I have had places outright refuse to do it and on more than one occasion take my request for No bubbles literally, bringing back the beer minus the head, no extra beer.

  • 0

    Oz_Monster

    I think the whole article is not very well written or informative at all.

    People who buy these kind of home beer servers are more interested in the novelty factor rather than the quality of the beer and or size of the beer head. End of story.

  • -1

    DenTok2009

    Go Fadamor! (gave you a thumbs up!)

  • 0

    EZTokyo

    So a pint still has a pint of beer in it.

    It comes in pints!? I'm getting one!

  • 1

    MapleG

    Foam=waste=rip off.

  • 0

    bass4funk

    There is a quality that refreshes us in a way that other beer cannot.

    Would you kindly please elaborate as to exactly which of these beers are so super supreme, because if there is, l want to know so that I can make my way to the store.

    Some Japanese beer can be decent, but to imply that they are somehow superior to the classic European brands or American "micro brewery" then I must honestly say, you are not a true beer connoisseur, but then what do I know as a foreigner, my palate is NOT as sensitive as most Japanese people.

  • 0

    jessebaybay

    THIS!!! ... The one thing that really gets my goat. I can't stand so much foam. I paid for a pint.. I want a pint.

    I end always buying bottles of drinks instead of drinks that come in mugs etc.

  • 0

    JapanGal

    I just tell them I am allergic to bubbles and get a full glass of beer.

  • 0

    JapanGal

    Salary Man talk. "Toriaizu, namachu!"

  • -6

    Hôjô Sôun

    bass4funk,

    Some Japanese beer can be decent, but to imply that they are somehow superior to the classic European brands or American "micro brewery" then I must honestly say, you are not a true beer connoisseur, but then what do I know as a foreigner, my palate is NOT as sensitive as most Japanese people.

    Japanese are raised with a cuisine made from fresh, high quality seasonal food. This is unlike any other country in the world. And we take this refined palette to our approach in beer. This is why the original recipes from Europe have been extensively improved upon. Better, fresher ingredients. More attention to detail. More devoted workers who will never be so much as a second late for work in 40 years on the job. Japan is unequaled in these areas. Peerless.

    There is a quality of Japanese beer that puts it firmly above all else, in taste and refreshingness. It must be the clear, pure Japanese water which reminds us of the innocence of a Japanese heart and mind, absent of all impurity, focused only on how to best serve the Emperor himself. Our generation may seem on the outside to serve the corporate master, but the Heisei League of the Divine Wind is in our hearts at each instant, ready to spring into action, drawing a sword, trading a beer for nihonshu, cutting the belly open as a white crane flies across the rising sun of dawn.

  • 5

    zichi

    Hojo Soun

    Japanese are raised with a cuisine made from fresh, high quality seasonal food. This is unlike any other country in the world. And we take this refined palette to our approach in beer. This is why the original recipes from Europe have been extensively improved upon. Better, fresher ingredients. More attention to detail. More devoted workers who will never be so much as a second late for work in 40 years on the job. Japan is unequaled in these areas. Peerless.

    You do know that beer is a fermented produce just like soya. And while I have manged to find some great beers here, mostly from micro breweries, the everyday mass produced beer does not equal that in my home country, Britain. No beer is better than a correctly served pint of Guinness. Cheers.

  • -4

    Hôjô Sôun

    Zichi,

    Guinness is a delicious drink, I agree. But, as Japanese we must be more refreshed by a Japanese beer. So if I go drinking with some foreign colleagues, I will have a delicious Guinness, but inside my heart is heavy, it knows we should be speaking Japanese and enjoying Japanese beer, because it is the best suited for the highly refined palette.

  • 8

    zichi

    Hojo Soun

    The refined taste of Japanese is why they drink happoshu and happousei beers?

  • 0

    Africanist

    Whoever wrote this doesn't get it. The head is carbonation OUT of the beer. I want the carbonation in the beer to stimulate the taste buds. A big head = flat beer. So

    When you push the lever the cup creates a head on the beer. Not a bad idea in itself

    is just wrong. The author himself doesn't know beer drinking. What editor approved this?

  • -4

    Hôjô Sôun

    zichi,

    Happoshu and happousei are not beers. They are beer like beverages.

    Ken

  • 3

    zichi

    Hojo Soun

    Japanese are raised with a cuisine made from fresh, high quality seasonal food. This is unlike any other country in the world. And we take this refined palette to our approach in beer. This is why the original recipes from Europe have been extensively improved upon. Better, fresher ingredients. More attention to detail. More devoted workers who will never be so much as a second late for work in 40 years on the job. Japan is unequaled in these areas. Peerless.

    Nearly all the barley malt and wheat used for beer making is imported.

  • -3

    whateverz

    @Jeff

    The country that gave us cup noodles and canned coffee from vending machines is not a country that values freshness.

    That same country gave us sushi as well.

  • 2

    Nessie

    That same country gave us sushi as well

    ....Which was originally made with preserved fish.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    Ever tasted Kirin Beer? No thank you.

  • 0

    whateverz

    @nessie

    I'm arguing about the comment that says Japan is not a country that values freshness. Just because it originally started off with preserved fishes, my statement still stands IF the Japanese enjoys and values fresh sushi today, doesn't it?

    Of course, Japanese having sensitive palette is absolutely rubbish. Having a sensitive palette means the Japanese are somehow anatomically different than others which I totally disagree with.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please. The subject is beer heads.

  • 3

    bass4funk

    @Hojo Soun

    I started to lose you when you where talking about....

    Japanese are raised with a cuisine made from fresh, high quality seasonal food. This is unlike any other country in the world.

    Anyway, I know you don't truly believe all that what you were stating, right? Apparently, you haven't tried many international beers if you think Japanese beer uses only the freshest ingredients. So I guess, German, Czech, Belgium beers for example use inferior ingredients and care less about overall quality than Japanese beers and beer makers, if we go by what you are saying. Then I guess Europe has NO idea as to what they are doing when it comes to beer making and to think all this time I could have saved my money at those crazy Oktober festivals....verdammt!!! Come to think of it, Japan makes THE best Bratwurst in the whole world as well as wine, pizza and the hamburgers, pasta, cheese...etc. I'm off today so I'm going to my local combini and get me a Black Asahi Dry Stout since it is far superior and Guiness is crap. anyway! As far as foam, I couldn't tell you which is higher.

  • 1

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Like any other foodstuff, the taste of beer is very subjective. Your favourite (type or brand) beer is likely going to be the one you first got drunk on, or that a family member introduced you to. Similarly, the amount of head you like will invariably depend on whether you first sipped the stuff in Munich or Manchester. This being an English language forum...

    Black Asahi Dry Stout is closer to the continental dunkelbiers than to Guinness - it's not claiming to be Guinness, which incidentally some would say is inferior to Beamish or Murphy's, not to mention Porterhouse Plain, Oyster or even Wrasslers. Next time you're in a decent sakaya, though, look for Tokyo Black. Brewed in Nagano, it's reminiscent of an old-fashioned, slightly treacly north of England porter, and it blew my socks off.

    As for the head, this isn't a lager, and in keeping with traditional Anglophone beers (help, a speaking beverage!) has a modest head (half a finger) which lasts well.

    Finally, the Jokki Hour product - a piece of fun, and future landfill, not aimed at pint sinkers like most of us, but people for whom that one small beer is more fun ritual than first of many. Japan wouldn't be Japan without such whimsy, would it.

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    The Japanese are not Brits, the Japanese are not Aussies, nor Mexican etc..and the first time I had Japanese beer at a Japanese izakaya I thought it did look rather beautiful, big old dai jokki with the white foam on top leaving everyone, men and women, both with funny little white mustaches, but when I tasted it, well it was cold, the color more or less like back in Mexico but I guess all the rice etc..being used here in Japan to make Japanese beers was quite of a shock, and a few years back I had the chance to take about 20 fellow Mexicans fresh off the airplane with lots of jet lag etc..and took them to an izakaya somewhere in the middle of Shinjuku and sure enough we ordered beer and my fellow country men first commented ¡Qué bonita se ve la cerveza! How beautiful the beer looks! After teaching them how to say KANPAI and when we were about to start drinking, THEY ALL STOPPED and started to SMELL the Japanese beer, they smelled it and smelled it for a few seconds, and they all commented that it smelled funny, different, that it did not smell like beer back in old México, but after a few dai jokkis etc..were we all happy just the same and with little white mustaches from the loads and loads of foam they like to top off the beers here in Japan, so kanpai!!! ¡Salúd! ¡Cheers big ears!!

  • 1

    Andrew Brooks

    I thought you tip the glass while pooring to avoid foam... anyway its a mater of preference I guess. In my experience though most prefer more beer, less foam.

  • 1

    Andrew Brooks

    >Hôjô SôunMay. 14, 2012 - 02:49PM JST Japanese beer is yummy! One thing I love about Japan is we have a way to take foreign foods or drinks and improve them to suit the refined Japanese taste and demands for freshness and* quality.*

    EH???.... Japanese beer isnt bad, but its FAR from and improvement of other beers....I am an American and have traveled a lot of the world, I have to say that a most European beers and also Australian beer beats the crap out of japanese beer. If the japanese "demand freshness and quality" they better by a plane ticket! Europe and australia are beautiful this time of year! Oh and please note I did not mention american beer "YUK!!!", in that way at least, i do believe japanese beer is superior!

  • -3

    theResident

    Japanese Lager/Beer, along German and Belgian Beers are amongst the best in the world. Seriously, what a load of old tosh most of the complaints are above. Again, are you people real or just here to knock Japan for the sake of it??

  • -1

    tomoki

    We enjoy the "unique" way we drink beer. You can drink it in any individual ways you want. That's fair, isn't' it.

  • 0

    oliver p reilly

    ****I have been in the beer trade since 1968 and get sick and tired of people going on about the beer head if they think it is too big. What is so difficult about asking for a top up?

    >

    >

    <>

  • 0

    MrMojo

    How can having Too Much Head on beer considered Fresh? Seriously?!

    Just a little bit of head is fine but Not TOO much as I've seen from many Japanese beers.

    Had some European beers on tap... good but don't like it warm esp. the British beers. American beers DO come on tap instead of bottles so do some research and go drink some fresh American beers. Better to have a little bit of head instead of a Lot of head since you're Paying for the BEER and NOT the foam! Japanese beer is decent, from those imported Stateside but it's rather limited and expensive!

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