H&R Group – Great Japan Beer Festival

When I first arrived in Japan, I was somewhat disappointed by the perceived paucity of decent beer selections. It seemed that no matter where I went I could find nothing more on draft than the near identical brews of the “big 3”: Sapporo, Kirin and Asahi. While these can be refreshing and are fine for cooling you down on the hot summer evenings, I still craved more. However, I soon found a burgeoning microbrewery movement that, in the last six months in particular, has exploded with a new craft beer place opening seemingly every week.

What is the Great Japan Beer Festival?

Yes, craft beer (typically beer that is made by small or “micro” breweries independent of the large brewing chains) has taken off in Japan in a big way, and nowhere is this more evident than at the great Japan Beer Festival. Hosted by the Japan Craft Beer Association (JCBA) the Great Japan Beer Festival, also known as Beerfes, is Japan’s largest beer festival and has gone from strength to strength since its first outing in 1998.

Since those early days in Tokyo, Beerfes has expanded to include events in Yokohama, Okinawa, Osaka and Nagoya. The coming weeks will see events in Yokohama’s Osanbashi Hall at Yokohama Port on May 23 and 24 with expected 3,000 beer enthusiasts, and then on June 6 and 7 in Tokyo’s Yebisu Garden Place’s Garden Hall with up to 5,500 beer lovers sampling over 200 beers.

The festival lasts for three and a half hours on each day, essentially working on an “all-you-want-to-drink” nomihoudai basis. You will be given a tasting glass on entry along with a ling of the available beers. You take this glass to a stand with the beers you want to try where you will be poured a small measure to taste, after which you can move on to as many stalls as you wish to sample.

Being indoors, the Great Japan Beer Festival is a little more formal than the many Oktoberfests and beer festivals that frequent the city. However, whether you are new to craft beers, or are a serious enthusiast, it is a great introduction to some of the best beers of not just this country, but also from around the world.

To read more, please click Great Beer Festival for Great Japan Beer Festival tips and event information. This article is provided by Japan Info Swap.

*Japan Info Swap has been set up by the H&R Group as part of its relocation service, to assist expats in Japan by providing useful and easily accessible information to enhance daily living.  Visit theirblog or sign up for their newsletter.