About

Welcome to Beers of Japan. In short, you are reading about my weekly scavenger hunts at my local Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores in search of interesting beers produced by Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, Suntory, and other Japanese brewers. For the past couple years, I have been posting pictures and short comments to Facebook, and recently decided to expand into a blog format.

Many years ago, one of the things I used to discuss about Japan was the lack of beers on the supermarket shelves compared to my hometown, this is no longer true. While no where near the variety of other places in the world, Japan does have many different kinds of brews, and between true beers, limited edition brews, happoushu, and happousei beverages, there’s definitely enough to keep me busy.

Please join me on my journey to catalog Japan’s malt beverages. Comments are always welcome.

My header:
The photo for the header was taken somewhere in Kobe in 2008, featuring vintage advertisements for Sapporo beer.

Photography:
The majority of the photos are taken by me. I use a dated Canon 30D with a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 lens. If you chose to utilize photos on this site, please credit me with a link.

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41 Responses to About

  1. Cool blog! Are you in Japan tasting these beers or have you been able to find these in supermarkets outside of Japan?

  2. DM says:

    Thank you kaleidescaper. Yes, I am tasting in Japan and as far as I know, I don’t think any of these brews are sold out of the country :~( Mind if I link to your blog, I’m enjoying reading about Sydney’s ramen shops. Cheers!

  3. Nevitt Reagan says:

    Hello,

    I have a blog (“Beering in Mind”) which deals primarily with Japanese beer, especially Japanese craft beer. Please have a look:

    http://beeringinmind.blogspot.com/

    Would you consider exchanging blog links?

  4. jens says:

    Hi Nevitt,
    I am the head brewer at Haandbryggeriet in Norway, we are looking to expand our export to Japan but havnt been very successful in finding beer importers on the net. we are a very dedicated micro making many historically traditional Norwegian beer as well as some Lambic/Geuze style beers.
    If you can point us to some importers you can recommend i would be very greatful

    Cheers
    jens

  5. Ben G says:

    Hi DM

    I live in Hong Kong on the Eastern side of the island. Although many of the Japanese beers you feature are not available in regular stores across HK (they stock standard Asahi, Sapporo and Kirin), we get some random stockage of some of the limited editions you feature in our 7 Elevens and smaller supermarkets.

    Just walked down the street to Seven 11 and scored 500ml cans of Asahi’s winter brew (only one sentence in English I understand on the can…same as your pics though), three different Asahi Honnama – red draft, “new” Blue label and an Ice Blue, plus the Kirin limited Ichiban 2011. You have featured three of them on your blog and thanks for the comments.

    I an English and love trying new and different beers – I can only think they are aimed here at the significant Japanese minority community in Eastern HK. A local supermarket also stocks some of the Suntory malt beers, so need to try them…

    Keep up the good work!

    • DM says:

      Hello Ben G,
      Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. I’m surprised you have a wide variety of Japanese beers in Hong Kong, and especially the limited ones. That’s great! Are there some local HK brews you drink?

  6. Ben G says:

    Hi DM

    I think the only truly Hong Kong beers are a San Miguel brewed here (horrible) and there used to be a Hong Kong brewery bottle – but have not seen it in years.

    We also have a couple of micro-breweries, but that’s it. We tend to get Tsing Tsao and Phillipine San Mig as standards… and a whole bunch of imports. Plenty to chose from, but I find the limited Japanese stuff quite interesting. My 7 11 is pretty isolated in a mainly residential and school district on the edge of a country park – pretty weird it gets these in…

    Cheers

    Ben G

    • DM says:

      Tsing Tsao is great, I’ll drink it every once in a while here in Japan. I don’t think I’ve tried San Miguel before, but I’ve seen it at the import store. I’ll have to give it a go one of these days. Keep trying the new Japanese brews, and let me know what you think on the comments page. Cheers!

  7. Hi DM,

    I was wondering if you know of any Japanese beers which fare well/better in nullifying the heatiness (a certain Chinese characteristic) of food.

    I hope you understand what I mean.

    Great blog by the way.

    Thank you in advance.

    • DM says:

      Hmmm… good question. If you’re talking about the spiciness of a Chinese dish, like using hot peppers, sugar is what counteracts the heat. If you’re just looking to counteract the “heat” with beer, you’d be looking for something a little sweet, possibly a stout? There are several Japanese brands that carry a stout production. However, I don’t know if that type of flavor would match well with Chinese food.

      Although it’s off the market now, Asahi Yoine was a beer that I think would have gone well with spicy Chinese. Its high alcohol content and sweetness would have been a great pairing, IMO.

      • Thank you for your prompt reply, you have been very informative.

        Also, I have noticed that Asahi also use the term 辛口 a lot on their brands of beer. Is this anything to do with their beers specifically being quite cooling for ‘spicy mouths’?

        Thanks again in advance!

      • DM says:

        Asahi uses the term 辛口 “karakuchi” to mean “dry,” the same as the wine industry, and they have less of a sweet flavor.

  8. Nice to find somehow who shares my hobby! Been doing this (trying out Japanese beers) for the past two years since we moved back to Japan. Nice to hear your take on these beers. Subbed and looking forward to your updates. Cheers!

  9. Aziz says:

    Hi DM,

    I am a big Japanese beer fan and has been a way from Japan for a long time. Your blog brought all the joyful memories to my mind as I was reading your storied of meeting each beer can or bottle 🙂

    Can you please write some reviews of the recent Asahi beers, I am very interested to see your thoughts and taste for the following in comparison to Asahi SuperDry

    – Asahi The Master Pilsner
    – Asahi Premium
    – Asahi Royal Pils
    – Ashi Creamy Premium

    Thanks and keep it up please

    youroshiku

    • DM says:

      Aziz, thank you for your comment and kind words. It’s nice to know there are people out there with similar interests. As per your requests, (I’ve not compared to Asahi Super Dry, but…):

      – Asahi The Master Pilsner: I’ve had this but have not reviewed… will look for a can soon!
      – Asahi Premium: Premium Jukusen?? — just search the archives.
      – Asahi Royal Pils — coming in a couple days.
      – Ashi Creamy Premium — not seen in my area yet, will search!

  10. Aziz says:

    Hi DM, thanks for the quick reply. Yes indeed I believe there are many people who lived in Japan will share this passion. Japanese food and drinks are amazing, but at most for me it’s the beer world that is so fascinating in Japan, they just went the other extreme aside of the rest of world. Who would believe ice and beer, or tomato beer to be that good, thanks to you now these both are on my list if I visited Japan again I must try, it was your words and the details of your gulping experience that made them on top of my wish list for beer, so thanks.

    I will search again your blog for the asahi Premium as I couldn’t find it.

    Looking forward for your ongoing review.

    Thanks for the wonderful effort.

  11. Aziz says:

    Hi DM, thanks for this amazing review. Very interesting to know how the Asahi creamy taste and impressed about the citrus flavor. Of course I never had it as I live in Dubai and we don’t have access to Asahi products except for Asahi karakuchi at one store only. But as I was reading your words about the creamy version I was having a moment where as if I was really tasting in my mouth. Your words are very unique in the details of how you explain every single beer glup.

    Thanks and keep it up, I enjoy your blog every day.

    • DM says:

      Thank you for your nice comment. Hopefully, as Japanese beers gain in popularity around the globe, Dubai will see a larger variety in the future… they just need to be imported directly from Japan for the real taste. I’ll try to keep up my blogging. Cheers!

  12. Wanted to mention I found a Ginga Kogen Pale Ale in Sapporo. That was the sweetest beer I’ve ever had. New style for me (though it looks like they are classifying it as an English Pale Ale). I’ve tried pale ales, American pale Ales. This was a bit different.

    Anyway, that was a nice treat. Hadn’t had an Ale in months!

    • DM says:

      Ginga Kogen has their beers at most places here, but I don’t really care for them. I does have quite a unique flavor, just not my preference.

  13. KB says:

    Hello. I would like to invite you to the Japan launch party of a new craft beer. Can you please provide me your e-mail address?

    Thank you in advance.

    • DM says:

      @KB thank you for the offer, but I’m afraid given my location and current work/personal schedule I would most likely not be able to attend.

  14. Having a Kirin Heartland. Reminds me of Heineken, which I had not long ago.

  15. vitellus says:

    Hi,

    Great blog, lots of interesting beers!
    Have you tried the Asahi Bitter premium (red can) sold at FamilyMart? what is your opinion of it?

    Cheers

    David

    • DM says:

      Asahi Bitter Premium is sitting in my fridge. I should be tasting it very soon, if I can get some free time 🙂 Thanks for the question, vitellus.

  16. Bren says:

    I just stumbled across your site whilst in the supermarket trying to decide between a couple of Kirin brews I hadn’t seen before. It was super helpful, thanks very much!

  17. I didn’t realize Japan had such a wide variety of beers. Great blog!

    • DM says:

      Yes, Japan does have quite a selection of beers. Most of the ones I blog here are limited, so most of the world would never know. Thanks for your comment.

  18. Dora says:

    Hi DM,

    Happy New Year! Hope you are well. You have a great Japan beers blog, amazing! I am looking for a Beer speaker to deliver a Japan Craft beer appreciation workshop in Tokyo, conduct in English. Do you have any recommendations? Will you be able to make it if you are in Tokyo?

    Thank you very much!
    Dora

    • DM says:

      Hi Dora,
      Thank you for your comment, and sorry for the late reply. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to do this sort of thing. I hope your event goes well. As for a speaker, I’m sure there are tons of qualified people in Tokyo. Maybe inquire with the Japan Craft Beer Association? All best!

  19. Pingback: Sapporo Classic Beer only in Hokkaido | Lorenciatjhia

  20. rodel says:

    Great thing you’re doing here, a lot of the beers and beerish drink you do are the ones I have access to at the combini. Mind if I add link to your site from mines? I’m new to websiting and don’t know if there’s some sort of ettiquette, but I figure my readers would appreciate the contents of your website too.
    here’s mines by the way, feel free to judge it and be like “no, this website is not worthy of my association” or “yeah, it’s cool”
    http://www.rhizomecomic.com/

  21. James says:

    My wife and I just moved to Japan two months ago and have been slowly (…okay, maybe not that slowly) trying all the Japanese beers we can find. I stumbled across your blog when trying to work out what the heck the purple Kirin Nogodoshi is. Still not sure on that, actually.

    Lovers of the big three Japanese beers back home in Australia, it was really interesting to come and see the variety on offer here.What’s been your absolute favourite so far?

    Anyway, great blog! Can’t wait for more.

    • DM says:

      Hi James. Thanks for the comment. I actually just picked up the “purple” Nodogoshi yesterday. It’s called “Yoru Nodogoshi,” yoru meaning night. It was just released a few days ago. It’s a low-malt new genre, but is made from 100% barley and is supposed to have a fuller flavor. I’ll have the review up one of these days 😉

      My absolute favorite is probably this one, but it’s not on the market anymore. However, Yebisu just released Kohaku Yebisu which is probably the best on the store shelves right now and one of my all-time favorites. Look for the red can.

  22. Mel Taylor says:

    Hi DM,

    Are there any gluten free beers in Japan ?
    Any information would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Taylor

    • DM says:

      Hi Taylor,
      I’m not too familiar with “gluten free”, but according to a source on the internets Kirin’s Nodogoshi Nama is most likely gluten free, being made without barley or wheat. Most other third tier, low malt brews have been brewed with barley or wheat to date. So, Nodogoshi Nama, give it a shot! You can find it at any grocery or convenience store, it’s cheap and doesn’t taste too shabby.

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