Written by Hilary Keyes
Oktoberfest, Beer Gardens And Craft Beer: The Japanese Beer Experience
While sake and Japanese whisky have garnered a lot of international attention, the beer and craft beer industry in Japan is one that is still little known outside of the nation. Here you'll find helpful advice and some top brands of Japanese beer.
While Japanese sake and shochu are perhaps the two most famous alcohols produced in the country, there are plenty of other popular drinks to choose from: wines, fruit liqueurs, and of course even non-alcoholic beer can be found on the menu of any izakaya. But beer is the drink of choice for many, and one that you just have to try (responsibly!) while in Japan.
Quality of Japanese Beer
Beer drinkers know that there are sometimes some not too subtle differences between the quality of beer served in one country to the next, which is why it is important to have a bit of knowledge on the subject before arriving at the bar of your choice and finding. For starters, compared to Canada, for example, Japanese bars serve beer with a lot more foam than you might be used to.
Overall, the majority of Japanese beers tend to be lagers or pilsners, which are more bitter than the ales that are commonly found in North America and Europe. To learn more about the difference between Western and Japanese beers, take a look at Too Much Beer Foam? Differences Between Japanese and Non-Japanese Beer.
Beer Related Festivities
When thinking of beer in Japan, two major events come to mind: beer gardens and Oktoberfest.
Beer gardens are a summer staple; these outdoor restaurants and patios can be found all across Japan, on rooftops, in parks, and even sometimes at historic sites! For some of the best beer gardens in Tokyo, please read Stave Off The Summer Heat At Five Tokyo Beer Gardens!
Oktoberfest is one of the best known international beer-related events. The Yokohama Oktoberfest is held in front of the Redbrick Warehouse in Yokohama and not only has a great selection of German foods and beers, but also live music and some great entertainment too. In 2017, this event will take place from September 29th to October 15th.
But Oktoberfest is actually a year round event in Japan - on select dates from April through to October, Oktoberfest events are held in Odaiba, Hibiya, Nara, Tohoku, and back through Hibiya and Odaiba again. There are also special Oktoberfest celebrations held in individual bars, German restaurants, and watering holes throughout the country, so if you are visiting in the fall and of legal age, you can easily find an Oktoberfest event happening near you.