Monday, April 14, 2014

Celebrating Spring with Kirin & Cherry Blossoms

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

One of my favorite things about living in Virginia is our proximity to our nation's capital. Since moving here in early August, we've taken four day trips to DC. Sometimes we do the touristy things and visit monuments and museums. Other times, a trip to DC just means an amazing dinner and a trip to Ikea.

This past weekend we headed to DC for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo gifted 3,000 of these beautiful trees to the city as a token of friendship. As a historian, I think the story of how the trees came to DC is fascinating, but seeing them lining the Tidal Basin was truly spectacular.

The timing of our day trip to DC coincided perfectly with the request for me to sample beers from Kirin Ichiban. When Millennial Central reached out to me for this campaign, they not only sent beer for us to sample, they also included an informational booklet that contained Japanese recipes from celebrity chef Candice Kumai and the tools we would need to make them.

All of the recipes sounded delicious, but I was the most intrigued by the thought of making my own sushi. I took the recipe in the book and modified it to make a spicy tuna roll. Other than the fact that we used too much rice, we had so much fun making these, and they turned out SO well!

I had never tried Kirin before, and I was very pleasantly surprised with it. Kirin Ichiban is a 100% malt, first-press beer with rich flavor, a smooth finish and clean aftertaste. They only use the first strain of malt liquid, which means it’s truly beer at its purest.  Kirin is known in Japan and all over the world as beer at its purest because of its first-press brewing process and clean taste, and that was something I definitely appreciated. It didn't have an aftertaste, or taste artificial; which is something that I get from a lot of beers. It was simple and clean. We tried both the Kirin Ichiban and the Kirin Light, and I must say, I preferred the Kirin Ichiban. It had a more crisp flavor and a smoother finish.

The Kirin Ichiban was the perfect accompaniment to our dinner. The beer was light and very flavorful. It was exactly what I needed after a long day of traipsing around DC. I also appreciated that it complimented the sushi (and the seaweed salad I served on the side) and didn't take away from those flavors. 

If you've never tried Kirin, I would recommend it. Throughout the year Candice Kumai will share more recipes and pairings, so I also recommend heading over to the official Kirin USA Facebook page

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