Beers of Japan – Heathrow Airport prologue

For personal reasons, I’ve decided that I’ve had enough of the UK for a while. I’m hopping on a plane to Japan for a few weeks. I expect you to have sorted out this Brexit business while I’m gone.

Before I get to Tokyo, however, I have to pass through the traditional British pre-holiday ritual of ordering a pint of beer in the airport bar at some ungodly hour of the morning. Officially the time is 11am, but it’s past 5pm somewhere in the world.

Maxim Brewery, Raspberry Porter 5.0%

Maxim has a bit of a story behind it. It’s not a spin-off from a smutty magazine, as the name might suggest: it was actually born from the closure of two Northern breweries, Vaux in Sunderland and Wards in Sheffield. The staff from those breweries clearly agreed losing two breweries and their associated history was too great a tragedy to bear, so they teamed up and in 2007 they started production at Maxim’s new facilities.

It’s a long way from where I’m going: we’ll have to wait and see how much Japanese car manufacturing remains in Sunderland in a few weeks’ time.

Glass and badge for Maxim's Raspberry Porter
Some helpful notes from Wetherspoons for guidance there

This Raspberry Porter is a dark, deep brew, pouring like a fresh americano. I get a whiff of the aroma as I head back to my table: dark malts first, then rich raspberry notes rising over the top. The raspberry grows stronger over time, becoming almost liqueur-like.

There’s more of those fruity flavours on the tongue, backed up by more of that malt and a pleasant, chocolatey undertone. The mouthfeel is delightful: silky smooth and satisfying, creamy but not too heavy. The finish is sadly lacking: a little liquorice, perhaps, but less than I’d like.

All in all, this is a lovely beer with a positive story behind it, and a cracking start to my holidays. 4/5, may the good beer continue.

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