There’s no such thing as a bad beer. It’s that some taste better than others - Billy Carter
It’s a long flight to Japan, and by the time you get there, you’ll have developed a thirst that only the finest beer in the land can quench.
Fear not though, because Japan has become a world leader in the craft beer movement, and its breweries have been forging a global reputation and have earned the respect of their Western peers a hundred times over.
Trying to find the best Japanese beer in a cornucopia of incredible ales isn’t easy, as there are so many to choose from, which is why we’ve put together a list of the finest beer you can find in Japan so that as soon as you reach your destination, you can sit back, relax and satiate your super thirst…
Asahi Super Dry
There’s nothing like a little familiarity to help you to ease your way back into the world after flying halfway around the globe, and one of Japan’s best-loved beers is the lager that revolutionized their brewing industry.
Asahi (which means “Rising Sun”) Super Dry, is a cool, crisp easy drinking beer that’s as refreshing as immersing yourself in a cool lake in the early hours of the morning.
Abandoning the much heavier malt-laden flavors that their competitors swore by, Asahi’s flagship beer rejuvenated the brewery’s fortunes and catapulted them to the top of the Japanese brewing industry and international acclaim.
Hitachino Nest Saison Du Japon
Steeped in Belgian beer tradition, Saison’s were originally brewed in the Walloon area of the country, so it’s only fitting that one of Japan’s oldest breweries, Kuichi picked up the mantle and gave the Saison their own twist.
While they may be relative newcomers to the world of beer, after two centuries of brewing Sake, Kuichi knows a thing or two about taste and they’ve imbued their Saison with two of the most well-known flavors of rural Japan, yuzu and banana, and underscored it with a warm, peppery afterglow. Saison Du Japon is an old-world beer that’s been transformed into something new and exciting that will warm the embers of any beer lover’s heart.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
Excellence takes time to perfect and Kuici spent two centuries gradually perfecting their Sake, so when they moved into brewing beer it seemed only fitting that they’d use the same ingredients that they’d spent more than three lifetimes forging an incredibly successful partnership with.
Brewed using asamurasaki red rice, which is an ancient grain that was used by Kuichi to make Sake, this naturally light pink ale has a sweet floral, fruit taste that enriches your pallet and transports your psyche to far off, realm filled with snow-capped mountains and rolling green pastures.
A beer that’s steeped in history and tradition, this Red Rice Ale is a taste of ancient Japan that every craft beer devotee needs to clutch tightly to their bosom and never let go.
Suntory Brewery The Premium Malts
There are moments in life when you get to experience something so different, that it changes your outlook on almost everything that you thought you knew about the world.
Even though Sunsory’s Premium malts haven’t attempted to try and reinvent the beer wheel, there’s something vital and different about it that makes you question the nature of reality and the role that beer plays in it.
The rich barley aroma that rises from the light foamy head that this beer forms when poured give way to a far more sedate relaxed taste that makes you think of the endless days of summer spent drifting from one beach to the next with the one that got away. A popular session beer, it’s a drink for all seasons and every kind of ale devotee.
Ishikawa Brewery Tokyo Dream
A beer brewed by one of Tokyo’s longest-serving Sake producers, Tokyo Deam is crafted from a natural spring that flows one hundred and fifty meters under the streets of the Japanese capital.
It’s the same spring water that Ishikawa has been using to make their Sake for more than a century and every drop is steeped in the vibrant taste of tradition.
Its light, citrus zest betrays the happy-go-lucky nature of its brewer who sought to capture the underground vibrancy of the Japanese blue scene in a beer that the musicians who dedicated themselves to creating his beloved music could savor and enjoy.
A favorite among those who find it, Tokyo Dream helped to establish Japan as a force to be reckoned with on the global brewing stage.
Yoho Brewing Tokyo Black
Proving that there’s more Japanese beer than light, golden ales, Yoho Brewing’s Tokyo Black is a world-beating Porter that quite literally knocked the craft brewing scene off its axis. Borrowing from the banks of the Thames and the old breweries of London, Yoho brought the spirit of darkness to Japan with their refreshing heavy, dense, flavor-filled Porter.
Having won first place in the International Beer Competition in two thousand and ten and taken a gold medal at the Monde Selection in two thousand and fourteen, Tokyo Black wooed the world beer scene with its rich cocoa imbued charm and is a highly prized drink of choice by hipsters everywhere.
Yoho Brewing Aooni India Pale Ale
Founded in Nagano in nineteen ninety-six, Yoho Brewing (the company also responsible for creating the incredible Tokyo Black) was born into the craft beer movement and so it was only natural that they’d seek to make their own version of the ale that revitalized and reinvented the way the world thought about beer at the end of the nineteen-eighties, India Pale Ale,
It might be the plaything of the globally renowned American craft beer industry but that hasn’t stopped Yoho from making it their own IPA. Taking four gold medals at Monde Selection between two thousand and fourteen and eighteen, Aooni is a powerful, hop-laden beer that speaks to the soul, and lets its brave, bold combination of flavors do all of its talking for it.
Brewed to perfection by perfectionists, it embodies the future of the Japanese craft beer movement and proves that there is more to Japan than Sake.
Drinking In Japan
It is illegal to buy alcohol, or to consume it, in Japan under the age of twenty.
If you intend to purchase alcohol from one of the many liquor stores in the country or drink in a bar, you must present a valid photo ID in order to do so.