Beer Hearn Enmusubeer Stout is – ah. Hm. A wild pun appears. How to translate.
Japanese people- especially middle-aged men (“oyajis“)- are famously fond of wordplay. Practically every advertising slogan contains some kind of pun, and I have personally found the cringe-inducing “oyaji gyagu” (basically dad jokes) actually quite useful as mnemonic devices. Much to the chagrin of my wife.
Trouble is, though, that they are im-fucking-possible to translate. Having to explain a joke, however little, effectively murders it. You tell a joke, get no reaction, then the flop sweat begins as your friend looks at you like a dog that’s just been shown a card trick. With Japanese puns, it’s even worse. Every single goddamn word needs a detailed background. One of the most difficult peaks to overcome in a second language is the ability to understand that language’s humour. My heart goes out to the hapless translator wondering how to tackle “アルミ缶にあるミカン”. Readers who understand Japanese will either smile or wince a little at that one- “arumi kan” is “aluminium can” and “aru mikan” is “there’s a tangerine”. Directly translating it, therefore, is not exactly Mitch Hedberg material.
So, what to do? And indeed, why the hell have I talked about puns for the first two paragraphs of a beer review? (To that I say, have you read my other reviews? Be glad it’s only two paragraphs.) Well, basically, I want to name this beer. “Enmusubi” means “tying the knot”. It’s a stout. I’m calling it “Tangled Up In Black”. There. Done. Send me the cheque later.
So, Tangled Up In Black (cool name, eh?) is an Irish-style stout from Matsue City in Shimane prefecture, specifically the Matsue Horikawa Craft Beer Hall. These places tend to exist to gobble up the money of haplessly captive bus tourists with overpriced set lunches and locally-themed tat. Occasionally they’ll have an on-site brewery as well, especially if they were looking to cash in on the mid-90s boom. That they’re still going strong 20 years on means they must be doing something right, surely? And oh, hey, look, this stout won an award a while ago. International, even. I’m glad you’ve stayed with me this far. Here is your reward.
Beer Hearn Enmusubeer Stout Aroma and Taste
Not really a stouty head on this one – you can see the individual bubbles. But then, you can’t really expect to have a widget in a bottle unless you want the bottle cap embedded in your frontal lobe or ricocheting around the room like a shuriken. The nose is chocolatey, and oh-so-slightly coffee. And sweet. Sweet! Many’s a time I’ve bought a so-called “sweet stout” and it’s been a filthy lie. Hearn, though, ooh you cheeky little thing, you’ve gone and done it.
The taste is chocolatey as well, the usual roasted malt, and there’s flavours of condensed milk and cream there too. Does this mean that sweetness turns cheesy lacto wrongs into lovely cakey rights? You bet your moustache it does.
Beer Hearn Enmusubeer Stout One Line
Beer Hearn Enmusubeer Stout (or “Tangled Up In Black” if you’re cool) is fantastic, especially for a beer that is ostensibly a souvenir. Grab it, rabbit!