The Nihonjin Know Craft Beer. Artisan is Alive and Well in Japan.
My band and I just got back yesterday from our third tour of Japan. Just like the previous two, this run was nothing short of awesome! This year though, I finally found myself with the free time and the guidance to find some craft beer. With breweries like Hitachino Nest (Kiuchi Brewery) and Baird Brewing available in the states, my goal was to explore past those in get into some REAL local stuff.
Tokyo has a large number of craft beer bars that seem to focus on the more popular Japanese breweries and other classic names from all over the world; many of course from the states. One of these bars is a place called Good Beer Faucets which featured a 40 tap lineup that was impressive. Set in the busy area of Shibuya, Tokyo above a convenient store, this cozy restaurant offered some of CO and CA’s finest as well as Japan’s heavy weights in craft beer. Baird Brewing and Nide Beer (brewed by Baird) dominated the taps.
In Nagoya there’s a bar I heard about last year called Keg Nagoya which I unfortunately had no time to walk to last year. This year I made it with some help from a member of one of the opening acts. He spoke little English but he walked me and the boys to this craft beer gem!
It’s a tiny bar with big front windows that were open to the sidewalk and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. They spoke only basic English but knew what they were talking about which made for a great experience. I had an aged chocolate imperial stout from Hearun and a delicious IIPA from Minoh.
Since the de-regulation of Japanese brewing market in 1994, so many smaller breweries have been able to flourish. Respect is a key part of the Japanese culture as well as meticulousness in whatever they do, so their artisan beverages have been brewed with immense attention to detail. I’m hoping to get further into the craft beer of Japan when we tour there again. Cheers! / Kanpai!
Good Beer Faucets