About Japanese Beer

About Japanese Beer
Japan is currently the fourth largest beer market in the world. The first Japanese-owned brewery opened in the late 19th century; today there are a handful of large breweries along with a good number of craft breweries that stared to appear in the 1990s.

While pale ales are the staple of the corporate breweries, there has been a significant increase in Belgian-style ales; in fact there are now almost 40 Belgian beer bars in the Tokyo area.

While microbreweries have been successful producing these Belgian-style beers as well as India Pale Ale and other brews, the number of new microbreweries has become quite small; taxes on the best beers made in Japan- those with the highest percentage of malt - are taxed extremely high, making a six pack a beer an expensive purchase. Time will tell if these taxes are reduced to increase beer production and consumption in Japan.

Top Picks for Japan

Kawaba Sunrise Ale
87 points
Cloudy copper color. Grainy aromas and flavors of bread crust, dried fruits, and buttery praline with a supple, crisp, finely carbonated, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, relaxed finish that presents notes of starfruit and nectarine, sweet potato skin, wet grass, and pepper finish. A snappy bready amber ale.
Suntory ALL-FREE Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage
81 points
Brilliant light gold color. Aromas of lemon curd on toasted crumpet and corn meal with a watery body and a swift puffed wheat, popcorn, puffed barley, and nectarine skin finish. A solid nonalcoholic beer; try as a shandy.