Insects aside, it’s just nice to get more variety in the dark ale market in Japan.

Insect cuisine seems to be enjoying a relatively slow but steady rise in popularity around Japan. More and more eateries and food producers have been dabbling in the art of six-legged ingredients, signifying a warming up to what some are calling the future of food consumption.

However, a lot of the talk regarding bugs as food centers around their nutrition, so how about their benefits in the arena of flavor? To answer that question, who better to turn to than craft breweries?

Ishikawa Prefecture’s Tono Brewery has teamed up with insect food production firm Antcicada, headed by self-proclaimed cockroach lover (or “katsaridaphile” for you Scrabble players) Yuta Shinohara.

Antcicada has already developed cricket soy sauce and cricket ramen, and now with Tono’s help is set to release Cricket Dark Ale.

From Sunday 15 March to Wednesday 18 March, Antcicada will be serving glasses of this bold new ale at a pop-up stand in Shibuya Parco. In addition to the beer, specially selected insect snacks will also be served and merch such as T-shirts can be purchased.

In Cricket Dark Ale, farm-raised bugs are kept in the optimal conditions until harvesting when they are cleaned and heat-treated to ensure safety. Then they are roasted and added to the wort to bring out their most complimentary flavors into the brew.

What makes this cricket beer unique and quite possibly a world-first is that the crickets used are fed the lees (leftover sediment from brewing) of previous batches of Cricket Dark Ale, creating an efficient cycle of waste-reduction which can only bring out more of the inherent flavor and aroma of the drink.

The result is said to be a bitter and savory taste balanced with a caramel-like undertone. The aroma is especially rich and reminiscent of coffee, cacao, and chamomile. Cricket Dark Ale is also said to pair especially well with chocolate and coffee-flavored foods, dried fruit, and dishes made with chipotle (smoked jalapeno).

But don’t take their word for it, head on down to Shibuya Parco next month to knock back a glass of cricket ale yourself. For those whose can’t make it during that brief window of time, fear not, as word has it that Antcicada will be opening up a full-time restaurant in the Nihombashi Bakurocho area of Tokyo starting next April.

Yes, it’s certainly becoming a great time to be a lover of insect-based foods, and conversely a terrible time to be an insect. Antcicada is finally doing what more insect gourmets ought to and crafting dishes that look delicious, rather than just plopping a dead bug on a plate and expecting us to be happy about it.

Event information
Cricket Beer Pop-Up Stand by Antcicada / コオロギビール POP-UP STAND by ANTCICADA
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho 15-1, Shibuya Parco 1F
東京都渋谷区宇田川町15-1 渋谷パルコ1F
Open: 15 March (Sun.) – 18 March (Wed.)
Hours: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Source, images: PR Times
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