Though the news is fairly old in the beer community, the recent hops shortage has been making the rounds in mass media lately which has probably made all Joe Beer Guzzlers freak out, stockpile cases of brew, board up their homes, and guard their stockpiles with lethal firearms. This includes yours truly, of course.
During my recent rounds buying buckshot, I dropped by a local Japanese supermarket and happened to spot several bottles of Echigo Stout, brewed by the Echigo Beer Co., itself a division of a sake brewery. I've tried their Koshihikari Echigo beer, which they claim uses real koshihikari rice during the brewing process, and found it to be a very dry German pilsner style of brew. Echigo Stout, on the other hand, is a full-flavored yet medium bodied stout with delicious flavors ranging from dark chocolate to espresso and a nice lingering aftertaste. The latter flavor is the one which is stands out for me because I'm not a coffee drinker (gives me a stomachache for some reason) but I sometimes crave the flavor of coffee and Echigo Stout delivers it. Wish I could sneak this stuff into work in a Starbucks tumbler.
Needless to say, I ran back to that store the day after drinking the single bottle and bought the remaining five. Echigo's line of beers is already pretty rare, you might find them at a local Asian market or Japanese restaurant, but their stout should be considered even moreso since that type of beer has a much smaller audience than the standard ales and lagers. However, if you see it, by all means, pick it up and give it a try for yourself because you'd have to pry mine from my cold, dead hands.