BeerTengoku was invited along to the Coedo Beniaka Renewal Event held in Toranomon Hills, Tokyo at Above Bar & Grill. The event was designed to showcase the change in recipe for the Coedo Beniaka, which is brewed using sweet potatoes. The press event started at 5pm and lasted until 7pm, and the event was open to the public from 8pm with a two-hour nomihodai with food for ¥3,800. BeerTengoku was one of the few foreign language sites/blogs invited along to this event; also in attendance were other members of Coedo’s supply chain, including bottling companies and farmers
Coedo Beniaka has been out on the market for almost a decade at the time of writing and is one of Coedo’s most popular beers; however, for the last two years the Coedo brewers and staff were in talks about changing the beer. Did it need changing? If so, why? How would foreign markets be affected by this change? How would the change in the Kyara recipe affect the Beniaka style of beer? With COEDO’s move into the overseas market, it was felt that a change from lager yeast, a traditional top-fermented style, to an ale yeast, or a bottom-fermented style was deemed most appropriate and as such, the change occurred.
The Coedo Beniaka Renewal Event had all of the Coedo beers on tap, plus the recently introduced session IPA, Marihana. Most importantly though, there was the old style Coedo Beniaka along with the new style of Beniaka for comparing and contrasting. And there was a big difference in taste. Along with other press members, BeerTengoku got involved in some blind tasting; the hoppier, more ale-like new version of Beniaka was easily picked out (once it had warmed up). The Coedo Beniaka Renewal Event really did a good job to show how different the two beers were.
On top of this, Coedo’s new label designs were also on display. In the past it had been noted that it was difficult to work out the type of beer from the label alone. The notoriously vague labels only display the name and “All-grain Malt Beer” – Who knew the Coedo Beniaka was an imperial lager while the Coedo Shiro was hefeweizen (of course, if you have read our reviews you would know)?
The new labels go a long way in helping find the difference in the beers. With Coedo’s impending ventures into foreign markets, we can assume the redesign was introduced in order to make it easier for foreigners to notice the difference.
Throughout the evening, there a was a steady supply of Coedo beer and food that had been specially designed to bring out the flavours in the beers. The Coedo Shiro worked well with the fries and truffle salt, while the Coedo Shikkoku was paired up with various kinds of meat. The Coedo Beniaka though was paired up with desserts, such as a boozy sweet potato pudding, while the Coedo Ruri went well with some prawns. Finally, the Coedo Marihana was paired up with some fluffy foamy desserts along with some marinated spinach.
All in all though, the main star of the event was the new Coedo Beniaka and it will be interesting to see how the public take to the new style of beer. It really was a big change in style and very noticeable in particular when both beers had warmed up. The sweet, syrupy old style had become hoppy and crisp.
(Editor’s note: all beers and food were provided for free by Coedo; however, this did not affect our review of either the beers or the food.)