Updated: August 04, 2020
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7 Best Japanese Craft Beers, Try'em All!

Recently, craft beer consumption has been booming in Japan. Among the various brands, the 7 most popular will be listed! Gotta try'em all!

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Craft Beers in Japan

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Brewing regulations changed in Japan in 1994. The minimum beer production amount of a brewery went from 2,000 kiloliters to 60 kiloliters, which allowed many smaller players to enter the market. In Japan, craft beers were called "ji-beer" (ji means regional in Japanese) at that time. The first craft beer boom ended around 2003 and after then, ji-beer started to be called craft beer in Japan. They became synonymous with "unique tasting beer only produced exclusively" or "good quality beer made by the brewing masters".

As the major beer companies started to enter the market around 2014, a second craft beer boom occurred in Japan. Nowadays, there are some beer bars specialized in craft beers. Japanese craft beers have become popular not only in Japan but also in many other countries.

Yona Yona Ale (よなよなエール)

http://yonasato.com/ec/product/yonayona_ale/
Yona Yona Ale is probably the easiest craft beer to purchase. You can even find it in convenient stores. The unique name "Yona Yona" means "drinking night by night" in Japanese.

The hoppy smell with some fresh fruit scent is the main characteristic of Yona Yona Ale.

Many people drink beer icy cold, but Yona Yona Ale should be drunk at around 13 degrees Celsius in order to fully enjoy the flavor.

Shigakogen Beer (志賀高原)

Brewed and made in Shigakogen, Nagano, Shigakogen Beer is made by the brewery which also produces Japanese sake.

All of their products are unfiltered and some beers even contain sake-rice (rice used when making Japanese sake) as an ingredient.

For your first bottle of Japanese craft beers, go for Shigakogen Beers!

Hitachino Nest Beer (常陸野ネストビール)

Made in Ibaraki Prefecture, Tsunehitachi Nest Beer is more famous around the world than in Japan.

It has an alluring bright color, and the hoppy light taste has tons of big fans all over the world.

Sankt Gallen (サンクトガーレン)

http://www.sanktgallenbrewery.com/beers/golden-ale/
Sankt Gallen, which is produced in Atsugi, Kanagawa, is said to be the founder of Japanese craft beers.

The deep taste with some scent of orange and muscat grapes will surely change your image towards craft beers.

Swan Lake Beer (スワンレイクビール)

Made by a brewery in Niigata, Swan Lake Beer offers some craft beers with some crisp bitterness. They have won two times world craft beer competitions (2000 and 2006).

Niigata is also famous for good quality rice and some of their products are made from rice.

Shonan Beer (湘南ビール)

https://www.craftbeers.jp/Shonanbeer-daibutu.html
Brewed nearby the beach of Shonan, Shonan Beer is produced according to the Schwarz style, which is originally used for German beers.

The lager yeast produces a light, and smooth taste that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Minoh Beer (箕面ビール)

Because there is no filtering and heating in the process, Minoh Beer is extremely fresh!

Among the varieties of products, Stout and W-IPA are the two most popular products.

Their retro-looking labels are also very unique!

So many beer bars specialized in craft beers...

A brewery in central Tokyo? No way!

Nancy
Quite sure I'm a Ramen freak. Almost up to 200ramens in 2017. Not only ramens but also love to eat around and drink around.

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