On my first vacation to Japan in 1998, I fell in love with Asahi Kuronama. It's a dark lager (kuro = black, nama = raw/draft/fresh) that has a rich depth and a slightly nutty roasted flavor. I remember the wonderful sense of relaxation quaffing mugs of draft kuronama with my buddy at the roof-top bar/buffet of my hotel in Kagoshima, the warm humidity of this southern semi-tropical city embracing me, while watching Japanese baseball on a giant-screen television. Then I noticed a few dark flecks settling in my mug. The ever-smoldering nearby volcano, Mount Sakurajima, was providing a unique accompaniment to the evening's brew. What a great night...
Whenever I travel to Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Singapore, I always bring a case of kuronama home with me. Now, I'm down to my last two cans, and I don't have any plans to be back in Asia in the coming 6-12 months. I'm unable to find it anywhere in the metro New York City area (including my Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa, in Edgewater, NJ). I have seen postings on this board (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/439245) that it can be found in southern California, and supposedly it's at a restaurant in San Francisco (found via Google).
Asahi Kuronama is my favorite beer, and I often tell others it is the best in the world (we're all allowed our peculiar opinions, right?). I have heard that Kirin also makes a kuronama. I would like to hear from those in the U.S. that have had it themselves or found it: is it only in California? where have you found it; which liquor stores? which restaurants? once you've had it, is it something that you seek?
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