Japanese beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, widely consumed in homes, clubs and restaurants across the nation. The popularity of beer increased dramatically in the second half of the 20th century, surpassing sake, the traditional drink made from fermented rice. In recent decades, some Japanese beers have also gained popularity around the world. The development of Japanese beer is certainly also due to the fact that the production method is the same as that of sake. For this reason, all sake brewers have diversified their business by forcefully entering the beer market and the craft beer market.
Discovering Japanese beers
The big brands that dominate the Japanese beer market are Sapporo, Asahi, and Kirin, which produce lager using Western methodologies. The most popular type of beer sold in izakaya-the typical places where Japanese people gather to eat and drink-bars and restaurants are ales, with an alcohol content of about five percent.
In Japan, beer can be classified into 3 categories:
Beer with malt, with more than 50% malt.
Happoshu, the low malt beer (less than 50 percent), with a different, lighter flavor.
The third (non-beer) beer, which is the new generation beer proposed by the Japanese brewing industry. This is a beer-like beverage that contains no malt, but is made with other ingredients, such as soybeans.
The characteristics of Japanese beer
There are various types of Japanese beers. Most are similar to Belgian Ale, while the beers produced by the big brands-Sapporo, Asahi, and Kirin-are bottom-fermented lagers. The characteristic of Japanese beers lies in the ingredients used, such as rice and spicy, oriental flavors, which change the taste of the drink. Japanese rice la gers – for which a rice fermentation process similar to that for making sake is followed – are very light, clean and dry, similar to American lagers
Japanese craft beer
Local craft beer was born in the mid-1990s when the government changed strict beer laws, introducing licenses to small breweries as well. Since then, craft beer has become increasingly popular, with hundreds of microbreweries throughout Japan now producing high-quality local beer that is sold domestically and even abroad. Discover Japanese craft and industrial beers offered at Sushi-Sushi.
The best Japanese beers
Below we suggest a selection of the best Japanese beers made by major brands and craft brewed .
Kyoto Brewery ‘s beers draw on two distinct beer cultures, the American and the Belgian. The combination of innovative American culture and historical Belgian tradition has resulted in unique products that combine Belgian yeast with American hops, creating a truly tasty beer.
The Abashiri Brewery is named after its host city, a seaside town located in northeastern
, the northernmost of the four main islands of the Japanese archipelago. The Hokkaido brewery’s two flagship beers are Premium and White Ale. The first is characterized by an unfiltered, cloudy, golden color with a thick foam with good persistence on the glass. The second gives a dense aroma and a moderately more bitter and balanced flavor.
Kirin Ichiban Shibori
Kirin Ichiban Shibori is one of Japan’s most popular beers, characterized by a sweet and sour flavor. This beer is delicate; it has a balanced, refreshing taste while retaining the bitterness of the hops-which is why Kirin beer stands out from the others.
Sapporo Nama Beer Black Label
This is the flagship of the Sapporo company, Nama Beer Black Label is an excellent beer that is enjoyed at all times of the year. Sapporo Nama Beer Black Label originates from the northern island of Hokkaido and is made for those who appreciate a different and advanced taste in beer. The flavor dè lasting and harmonious, sharp, deep and bitter.
Far Yeast Brewery Tokyo
It is a highly regarded Japanese craft beer is of excellent quality. Far Yeast Brewery Tokyo’s varieties are:
Tokyo White: This beer boasts a phenolic and fruity aroma resulting from a combination of yeast and wheat.