Alcohol

What's More Kawaii Than a Beer-Swilling Child?

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Which is worse: sweet alcoholic beverages that are officially marketed to young adults but appeal to teenagers, or sweet nonalcoholic beverages that are explicitly marketed to children as beer substitutes? "With so much concern about 'the children' these days," writes Michael Keferl on CScout Japan's blog, "we doubt that fake beer for kids would make it past the pitch stage at any [American] beverage company."

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  1. And we wonder why Japanese kids grow up to be Ninjas and American kids grow up to be accountants…the answer is here, friends.

  2. When I was a yute, we got by with rootbeer and candy cigarettes.

  3. And did you grow up to be a ninja? Yeah, I thought not.

  4. Ginger ale? Root beer? Goya’s Malta beverage? I guess it would drive demand for Kaliber and/or O’Douls to more than a rounding error on the rump of Anheuser-Busch, at least.

    Apropos of nothing, I have homebrewed ginger ale (2/3 lb grated ginger + 6.6 lb malt extract + water to 5 gallons, no hops, regular ale yeast) to about 5-6% alcohol level. Tasty.

  5. Apropos of nothing, I have homebrewed ginger ale (2/3 lb grated ginger + 6.6 lb malt extract + water to 5 gallons, no hops, regular ale yeast) to about 5-6% alcohol level. Tasty.

    That sounds pretty good.

  6. So does it come in the classic 8 oz. “baby beer” size?

  7. candy cigarettes

    They call those “candy sticks” now. Of course, I was amazed to see them still for sale at all.

  8. We should stigmatize beer so that people get arrested for drinking in their teens and go on binges when they go to college or turn 21. Familiarity with beer only breeds responsibility, so I want none of it.

  9. Apropos of nothing, I have homebrewed ginger ale (2/3 lb grated ginger + 6.6 lb malt extract + water to 5 gallons, no hops, regular ale yeast) to about 5-6% alcohol level. Tasty.

    I tried to make ginger beer (as in the Jamacian soft-drink, not beer), but it always gets that nasty vinegar taste like orange juice that has gone bad.

    I had been using bread yeast (which is recommended, at least for the soft-drink), but maybe I need to try brewers yeast.

    Can I use the ale yeast for bread if the ginger beer doesn’t turn out?

  10. While Americans would likely overreact and freak out, we haven’t seen any such reaction here in Japan and these drinks have been out for a couple of years now.

    Only a couple of years? I remember drinking Malzbier in Germany when I was little back in the seventies. You haven’t had non-alcoholic beer that’s marketed to little kids until you’ve had German non-alcoholic beer that’s marketed to little kids!

  11. My Oma INSISTED I finish my “kinderbeer” if I wanted any dessert. That may be why I don’t drink much as an adult.
    I’m inspired to go get some alcohol free beer for my kids, to insure they learn to avoid the demon drink.

  12. On the whole, living in Japan, and despite the ritualized drunkeness of end of the year/beginning of the year parties and work activities… the Japanese have a much healthier attitude towards alcohol than the “West.” Without the religious puritanicalism, and with most alcohol readily available to teens if they want it [beer vending machines = awesome] it loses the “forbidden” aspect fairly quickly. It becomes socialized and acceptable very quickly. Of course they also have 0.0% limits on intoxicated driving. They don’t play. Almost like they treat you like an adult and hold you responsible for your own actions. How novel of them… almost libertarian!

  13. Rex,

    The sour flavor could come from two sources: if you’re using refined sucrose sugar for the bulk of your fermentables, the result will have a watery body and slightly sour flavor. I recall that the recipies for home ginger beer all call for table sugar – try honey or malt extract. Or, your equipment isn’t clean enough and you have common (yogurt, vinegar) lactobacillus turning alcohol into acid. Rinse everything in bleach solution, and have the ginger and fermentable sugars boil for at least 10 minutes. I’ve tried bread yeast in beer (Finnish style sahti for instance requires it), and the result will be cloudier and estery-er than yeasts developed for brewing. The result with bread yeast is like a truly unrefined hefeweizen; you get some of the banana-clove flavor, but really unrefined. Like opals in the rough. Sahti bombs the beer with juniper flavor, so it doesn’t really matter there. I haven’t used ale yeast in bread, so I don’t know how that would work. Maybe the first time out, follow a recipe designed for long-rising such as a sourdough to make sure there’s enough development?

  14. Damn. I’m thirsty.

  15. I thought “kawaii” was that tube of slippery stuff that people use to … oh, never mind.

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