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
214513
Kawaba
"Snow Weizen"
Hazy light gold color. Mild, buttery, dank citrusy grainy aromas of banana pudding and bread, frosted lemon scone, white grapes, and clay with a velvety, soft, finely carbonated, off-dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, brisk apple pie, pretzel bread, and kiwi finish. A delicious and very appetizing wheat ale that is sure to please.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214512
Kawaba
"Sunrise Ale"
Minutely hazy dark copper color. Lively, fruity aromas of toasted fruitcake, toffee, and tamarind with a supple, soft, fizzy, off-dry light-to-medium body and a graceful, stimulating, carefree caramelized fruits, peppered lettuce, and sprouts finish. A malt driven, English-style amber with good sessionability.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215937
Kawaba
Sunrise Ale
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, breezy starfruit and nectarine, sweet potato skin, wet grass, and pepper finish. A snappy bready amber ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab