Once you consider Japanese beer, manufacturers like Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo and Suntory instantly come to thoughts. You possibly can order these beers simply from any restaurant in Japan, discover them in comfort shops, and even buy them straight from merchandising machines.
Nowadays, the craft brewing tradition may be very a lot alive in Japan. Tokyo is residence to many small breweries and micropubs, so it may be overwhelming to resolve the place and what to drink.
The final time I used to be in Tokyo in 2019, I checked out the Museum of Yebisu Beer and Sapporo Beer Station (which was closed for renovations as of June 2023). On our current journey, Artwork and I did some beer looking round a couple of Tokyo bars in between museum visits and sightseeing.
We managed to search out some craft beer at supermarkets, choose comfort shops, and memento outlets like Don Quijote. The most typical craft beers we noticed included Yona Yona Pale Ale (American Pale Ale), Suiyoubi no Neko (Wheat Beer) and Aooni (American IPA fashion beer) by Yo-Ho Brewing Firm.
PRICE: Beer from comfort shops and groceries often price round ¥250 to ¥400 per can. Mainstream beers like Asahi and Kirin are often cheaper at round ¥185 in supermarkets and round ¥240 from merchandising machines.
There have been another different fascinating Japanese beers we tried like Rokko Beer’s Hazy Session IPA, Kamakura Samurai Beer IPA by Kamakura Beer co., Biere de Rydeen and Raiden Kanuki IPA by Oh! La! Ho Brewery, which had cool can artwork.
Listed here are a number of the beer highlights from our current Tokyo journey.
Baird Beer Harajuku Taproom
Lonely Planet’s International Beer Tour Guide, a information to the beer tasting on the world’s finest breweries, describes Baird Brewing Firm because the “granddaddy of American-style craft beer in Japan.”
From a 30L brewhouse in a fish market, Baird Beer has turn out to be one in every of Japan’s most well-known craft breweries. Its distinctive labels and beers like Rising Solar Pale Ale and Suruga Imperial Pale Ale can now be present in pubs and bars worldwide.
Beer fans will pay homage the well-loved Japanese model at their Harajuku Taproom, a standard wood-lined izakaya pub that dishes out scrumptious yakitori (like skewered scallops, mushrooms, hen pores and skin and beef) together with core beers and seasonal specials.
Certainly one of their most distinctive beers is the Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale, which is infused with Japanese wasabi and inexperienced tea. Throughout our go to, new seasonal beers included Hop Havoc Imperial Pale Ale and Cool Breeze Pils.
PRICE: Common 250 ml glasses of beer price ¥600 whereas the five hundred ml glasses price ¥1,100 every. Sampler units of three beers in tasting glasses prices ¥1,100
Asahi Beer Tower and Asahi Beer Corridor
Whereas staying in Asakusa, we took a leisurely stroll alongside the Sumida River to go to a few well-known beer-shaped buildings. From the opposite aspect of the river, you may get an incredible view of the well-known Tokyo Skytree, the tallest construction in Tokyo, in addition to iconic buildings of Asahi that really appear to be beer.
The tall golden constructing that appears like a beer pint manufactured from LEGO blocks is the Asahi Beer Tower. From afar, you’ll be able to see the highest of is lined with white, like foam on high of a glass. The Asahi Beer Tower has 4 eating places positioned on the twenty first and twenty second flooring the place diners can get pleasure from beautiful vistas over the town. This contains Restaurant Alaska for French fantastic eating; Mochizuki, a standard Japanese restaurant with multi-course meals; trendy Italian restaurant La Ranarita; and the the Asahi Sky Room, a restaurant lounge for beer and cocktails.
Proper subsequent to the Asahi Beer Tower is the Asahi Beer Corridor, a smaller black constructing formed like a beer mug topped with a golden sculpture referred to as Flamme de ‘Or (French for Golden Flame). In response to Asahi Breweries the flame designed by French designer and architect Philippe Starck accomplished in 1989 represents “the burning coronary heart of Asahi Beer”.
Initially the flame was supposed to face upright, however as a consequence of complaints that the construction would block the view from different buildings, it was placed on its aspect as a substitute. Due to its uncommon form, locals have reportedly dubbed it “the golden turd” or the “poo constructing.” The sculpture has additionally been likened to a tadpole, a whale, or a blob of mustard.
Whereas the eating choices on the Asahi Beer Tower are extra formal, the Asahi Beer Corridor serves informal meals like sausage, kushiyaki fashion hen kebabs, scallop pie, beer steamed mussels, which you can pair alongside together with your beers.
Tokyo Sumidagawa Brewing
The Asahi Annex proper subsequent to the 2 principal Asahi Buildings accommodates Tokyo Sumidagawa Brewing, a comfortable brewery that makes a speciality of craft beer and connoisseur smoked meats. That is managed by Tremendous Dry, one of many subsidiaries of the beer maker Asahi Beer.
The bar serves 4 common sorts of beer: a German fashion weizen or wheat beer, an fragrant kolsch, an American fashion pale ale, and a bitter stout. Taster units can be found so diners can get a beer set of 4. We tried the Weizen and the Asahi Nama Beer paired with a smoked meals assortment of shrimp, hen, mackerel, and pickles.
The primary flooring of the constructing is an off-the-cuff bar space with a view of the brewing tanks, whereas the principle restaurant is positioned on the second flooring. Apart from beer, the bar serves beer pairing dishes like sirloin steak, roast hen, assorted charcuterie, German fashion sausages, craft beer steamed mussels, and extra.
It is a stylish and quiet spot for afternoon consuming if you wish to take a break from all of the strolling.
PRICE: Draft beers price ¥700 to ¥1,050 a mug every, whereas the beer set of 4 prices ¥1,880.
Hoppy Avenue (Nikomi Dori)
We stayed a few nights within the Asakusa space simply strolling distance from Hoppy Avenue, a well-known road the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from Tokyo’s downtown nightlife. This slim road close to Sensoji Temple is lined with low-cost old school taverns with out of doors side-seating recognized domestically as izakaya. The entire space gives a festive environment to drink at night time although it could get crowded with locals and overseas vacationers
Most izakayas serve alcoholic drinks and low-cost road meals like yakitori and stew. In actual fact, the road is also referred to as Nikomi Dori or “Stew Avenue” as a result of many spots serve nikomi, a type of low-cost stew made out of beef tendons and greens.
Hoppy Avenue is called after the Hoppy drink, an inexpensive virtually non-alcoholic beer that’s been round since 1948. Whereas the old-school bottles look related and the drink itself tastes like beer, Hoppy has a really low alcohol content material of 0.8%.
In response to native journey guides“Hoppy blended with shochu (a a lot stronger distilled alcoholic beverage) is seen as a nostalgic drink and part of native tradition.” Hoppy can be used as a mixer for different cocktails with sake. It is available in two varieties: White Hoppy (which has a lighter taste) and Black Hoppy.
We had this with an incredible meal of teppanyaki and grilled scallops at Shiraiwa, in an arcade space in Asakusa close to Hoppy Avenue. The restaurant additionally serves okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and plenty of different appetizers. This was among the best meals we had in Asakusa and we ended up going to the identical restaurant the following day to strive their different dishes on the menu.
PRICE: Hoppy is priced from ¥550 to ¥700 per bottle, with extra mixers as add-ons. Most eating places alongside Hoppy Avenue require diners to order a minimal of 1 drink and 1 meals dish per particular person whereas eating in. Some izakayas even have a desk cost.
Shitamachi Highball Pageant
Whereas strolling round Ueno Park throughout our final full day in Tokyo, we chanced upon a neighborhood pageant that includes totally different Japanese alcoholic drinks and road meals together with stage performances.
The Shitamachi Highball Pageant held final June 23-25 had stalls serving highball, sake, shochu, whisky, and craft beer. Highballs are a preferred alcoholic drink in Japan, manufactured from a base spirit (usually whiskey) and a non-alcoholic mixer like carbonated drinks.
There have been a couple of craft beer stalls together with Tokyo Craft Beer (Beer Medel Tokyo), Black Tide Brewing, Zumona, and extra.
We tried a couple of together with the taster set from Tokyo Craft Beer which had Pale Ale, Honey Ale, and Peach Ale. Certainly one of our favorites have been beers from Vector Brewing, which had cute cat-themed beer labels and names together with Wheat Neko Punch, Again the Classics, and Tomcat Hazy IPA (extremely really helpful!).
PRICE: Beer on the highball pageant have been priced at round ¥600 to ¥1,500 relying on the dimensions, whereas tasting units of 4 price ¥1,400.
Since we didn’t have time to go to different bars, this was an incredible introduction to a number of the newer craft breweries and different alcoholic drinks. I stay up for looking down extra breweries and taprooms the following time we go to Tokyo.