Japanese Beer

While sake may be Japan’s national beverage, beer is probably Japan’s most popular beverage.  Japan’s beer market is dominated by several big producers:  Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory.  The craft beer movement is alive and well in Japan too.  One place in particular the offers many beer options is Yokohama.


Yokohama is the headquarters Kirin Brewery Company.  The brewery was established in the early 1900’s.  Yokohama’s thriving port city was active in the trading of beer in the mid 1800’s.  Today Kirin offers a free tour for guests to provide an view of the facility and brewing process.  The tour will highlight the unique brewing process for Kirin’s Ichiban product.  Kirin uses a first press process.  The first press is the first filtered strain of ingredients.  Only this single starin is used in Kirin’s Ichiban product.  The brewery tour concludes with free samples of several of Kirin’s products.  The tour is free and reservations are required.


Besides being home of one of the big four national Japanese breweries, Yokohama is also home of many of the budding craft beer breweries in Japan.  Yokohama Brewery was one of the pioneers of the craft beer movement in Japan.  Yokohama Brewery was founded in 1995.  Yokohama Brewery has been offering their beer throughout Japan for years.  They have consistently achieved awards for their products over the years.  At Yokohama Brewery, the focus is on quality, but there is also a philosophy to make beer unique.


Bay Brewing Yokohama is another craft beer brewery in Yokohama.  The brewery is located Naka –ku at Fukutomi-cho.  Bay Brewing was established in 2012.  Baty Brewing produces several styles of beer, but their focus and passion is about pilsner.  The master brewer and owner has spent years studying the craft of making pilsner by visiting and studying breweries in the Czech Republic.  He is driven to produce the best pilsner in Japan.  The microbrewery is adjacent to their pub and is near the convenient from Kannai Station.


In addition to the active breweries in Yokohama, the large-scale beer festivals take place in Yokohama.   First there is Beer Festival Yokohama.  This annual event occurs in early to mid September.  It is a multi day event that draws 10,000 people.


In May there is the massive Belgian Beer Festival.  This weekend event has over 100 different Belgian beers.  There is live music and food vendors.  The location is an outdoor venue at Yamashita Park.


The japan Brewers Cup Festival is another large scale beer event.  It is a three day event held in January.  The location is Osanbashi Pier Yamashita Park.  The first day is a beer competition.  The following two days are open to the public for tastings.  The participating breweries are local Japanese craft breweries.  There are over 150 different beers from approximately fifty craft breweries.


Oktoberfest Yokohama is an annual event in September.  The location is at the historic Red Brick Warehouse.  This Munich style celebration feature lots of German style beers, music and food.  The event is also available for several days and will draw thousands of people.


These are just a few of Yokohama beer events.  There are many smaller events throughout the year.  Also, there is a growing number of craft beer bars all over Yokohama.  Japan’s largest American importer of craft beer, Nagano trading Company is located n Yokohama.  Their products are available at their bar and retail bottle shop, American Antenna.  Yokohama is definitely a beer lovers city.