Recently in Japan beers made in minor breweries, like fragrant ale, refreshing lager, and many other varieties of craft beer, are getting popular. Here are 5 selected craft beers that beer lovers should try.
1. COEDO (Coedo Brewery)
COEDO is a craft beer made by Coedo Brewery in Kawagoe, Saitama. Kawagoe is sometimes called Koedo (small Edo), as it still has an atmosphere reminiscent of the Edo era (1600 to 1867).
COEDO is made with brewery techniques from Germany and carefully selected ingredients. There are five different types of COEDO beer: Kyara, Ruri, Haku, Shikkoku, and Beni-aka. For Beni-aka, they use sweet potatoes harvested in Kawagoe. It is popular for its sweet and refreshing taste. COEDO beers can be purchased in liquor stores, supermarkets, department stores and some convenience stores. They are approximately 300 JPY per bottle. They can also be found in the COEDO Brewery company store, a Chinese restaurant named Xiangmai, and some restaurants throughout the country, but mostly in Tokyo. There is more information on their official homepage, so please check it out.
2. Suruga Bay Imperial IPA (Baird Brewing)
Sugaru Bay Imperial IPA is a beer made by Baird Brewing, owned by Brian Baird. Baird studied brewing in America, one of the leading areas of craft beer. Bitterness, a beautiful aroma, and a high alcohol percentage are the characteristics of an IPA beer. The amount of hops used in the manufacturing process is four times more than for usual beers, resulting in an extra bitter flavor. The unique aroma of this beer is fruity and sophisticated, perfect for connoisseurs. This is a beer recognized around the world, and is a representative Japanese craft beer. Suruga Bay Imperial IPA can be purchased from supermarkets, department stores and liquor stores, and is approximately 500 JPY per bottle. The signature of their label is a stylish image of fireworks. Draft beers can be tasted in the Baird Tap Room, a restaurant owned by Baird Brewing. These restaurants are located in Numazu, Nakameguro, Harajuku, Bashamichi, and Shuzenji.
3. Baeren Classic (Baeren Brewery)
Baeren Brewery, located in Morioka, is a brewery that makes classic beers with traditional European manufacturing techniques. Theirs is an orthodox lager beer, with the perfect balance between bitterness and body, and the clear taste of sweet barley. The color of this beer is translucent gold and it has an elegant aroma. It has a refreshing taste that you won’t tire of, and a clean taste that goes well with any type of food. Baeren Brewery owns three restaurants, and their beers are sold at supermarkets, department stores and liquor stores for approximately 360 JPY per bottle. The factory of Baeren Brewery can be visited and observed, and all flavors of Baeren beer are available for purchase. Additionally, they have won a grand prix at the craft beer competition run by The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. There is no doubt that their beer will not disappoint.
4. Yona Yona Ale (Yoho Brewing)
Yona Yona Ale, produced in Nagano by Yoho Brewing, is one of the representative craft beers of Japan. It is a top fermented ale beer, with a beautiful amber color, gorgeous aroma and brilliant balance between sweetness and bitterness. It is recommended to drink it at around 13 degrees C (55 degrees F). It has won many fans for its smooth flavor. There are many stores that sell Yona Yona Ale, like convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores and liquor stores. They are approximately 270 JPY per bottle. We also recommend you visit one of the four company-managed restaurants called Yona Yona BEER WORKS.
5. Hitachino Nest Beer (Kiuchi Brewery)
Hitachino Nest Beer is a craft beer made by Kiuchi Brewery, a sake brewer in Ibaraki. They have a cute owl illustration on the bottle, and are very popular globally. Kiuchi Brewery has received a number of awards for their beer, verifying the quality of their products. They have 14 different beers including white ale, amber ale, weizen, and pale ale. Of all their amazing beers, we highly recommend the amber ale. The fragrant roasted malt and the bitterness of the hops create a flavor that is just right. For those who prefer beers that are easier to drink, however, we recommend the aromatic wheat white ale. Their beer can be purchased either in a store owned by Kiuchi Brewery in Ibaraki, in department stores, liquor stores or supermarkets. They are approximately 400 JPY per bottle.
Did you find a beer that interests you? Sake might be the alcoholic beverage that people think of in Japan, but make sure when you visit to also try some of the finest craft beers in the world.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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