Best Japanese beers
Beer consumption arrived in Japan in the 17th century; in this period Japan and Holland had a strong and prolonged commercial relationship by sea and it was a Dutchman who had the idea of ​​importing beer in the country of the Rising Sun, since then beer became the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan. They have a seasonal spread. In autumn, for example, beers are produced with a higher alcohol content (around 6%) and cans are generally decorated with images of autumn leaves.
The main Japanese brewers are Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory, which are added to small local producers.
Instead, Japanese beer varieties are divided into two groups, beer and happoshu, depending on the amount of malt used. The strict Japanese alcohol regulations prohibit the use of the word “beer” to indicate drinks containing less than 67 % of malt, which instead belong to the happoshu category.
Japanese breweries have started to produce a third type of beer, based on soybeans and other ingredients, which do not fall into the two classifications. This “third beer” is part of the so-called Happousei drinks.
Asahi Super Dry
It is considered by many to be perhaps the most famous and appreciated Japanese beer; present now almost everywhere, not only in Japan.
Its production began on March 17, 1987 and its diffusion is also due to its adoption on the menu of many restaurants around the world. In Japanese the term dry is called “Karakuchi”, a term used today sometimes for calling beer.
This type of beer was born from an interview that involved 5000 users, asking them: “In your opinion, what is the ideal beer that could satisfy you fully?”
The dry is produced with the usual ingredients, therefore water, hops, barley and malt but with the addition of a special yeast called “Asahi No.318”
It has a low fermentation type, a light color and a dry taste.
Sapporo is brewed by “Sapporo Breweries”, founded in 1876 and is the oldest beer brand in Japan. Brewed for the first time in Sapporo, Japan, in 1876 by Seibei Nakagawa, the world headquarters of breweries. Sapporo is located in Ebisu, Shibuya, Tokyo.
Yebisu is available in two main varieties: Yebisu (Premium) (a Dortmunder / export lager) and Yebisu Black, a dark beer.
Yebisu is considered as a luxury Sapporo label. Sapporo describes it as a type of beer with a “touch of class”. It is a 100% malt beer.
The peculiarity of this beer is that it is called by the name of the divinity Ebisu ( 比 ) (or Yebisu) protector of merchants, fishermen and in a general sense of abundance.
It is a light beer, about 5 alcoholic degrees, pleasant and light, very sparkling and frothy with a fruit aftertaste …
There is always the “dark” version, always the same brand.
Kirin Ichiban Shibori
Produced by the “Kirin Brewery Company”, one of the four most commercial breweries in all of Japan, it was founded in Yokohama.
Kirin has a long history that is closely related to the history of beer in Japan. When the country opened up to foreign trade, this drink began to thrive in the Meiji period (1868-1912), and especially in the city of Yokohama.
It is one of the most popular beers from Japan, characterized by a sweet and sour taste. This beer is delicate; it has a balanced and refreshing taste, while maintaining the bitterness of hops – so Kirin beer is recognized by others.
Sapporo Nama Beer Black Label
Produced by Sapporo as the “Yebisu”; this is the flagship of the Sapporo company, the Nama Beer Black Label is an excellent beer that is appreciated throughout the year. Sapporo Nama Beer Black Label is originally from the northern island of Hokkaido and is made for those who appreciate a different and advanced taste in beer. The taste is lasting and harmonious, clear, deep and bitter.
Hitachino Nest White Ale
It is an authentic internationally known Japanese craft beer.
Produced by Kiuchi Brewery in Ibaraki Prefecture, Hitachino is a brand of high fermented beers born in 1996, when the property decided to combine the tradition and knowledge given by 190 years of sake production, a brewery that would revive the concept of craft Japanese beer tending to pure authenticity.
Hitachino Nest Beer uses unique raw materials, such as sake yeasts, ancient varieties of red rice and traditional fruits. Unique ingredients that enhance the typically oriental flavors, combined with typical Japanese barley and Sake yeast. Hitachino White Ale is a decidedly oriental Blanche. On the nose aromas of orange, pineapple, coriander and white flowers. In the mouth the fresh and light sensations of coriander predominate which end in a clean finish.
Perfect in combination with traditional Japanese dishes, fresh cheeses, white meats and desserts.
Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
This too, like Hitachino Nest White Ale, is produced by the Kiuchi Brewery.
Pitch black color with a brown foam. The strong toasted character derives from the addition of coffee beans during processing and goes well with the notes of vanilla, dark fruit (black currant above all) and chocolate.
An aftertaste that brings greatly to the Italian espresso so much that it can be confused!
Deep black beer, intense and pronounced aroma of roasted coffee with a hint of dark chocolate. It also goes very well with meat in BBQ sauce.
The stouts are highly fermented, i.e. they are produced at relatively high temperatures around 20-22 C. As with most of the beers on the market, the raw material of origin of the Stouts is barley malt.
The peculiarity of the malts used for the production of Stout beer is their degree of roasting: these cereals are roasted markedly, and this operation causes their color to darken considerably and that the flavor acquires that particular and characteristic roasted aroma, which also contains notes of coffee, licorice and chocolate.
The Stout beer versions are characterized by a decidedly dark color, ranging from dark brown to black. Their alcohol content is generally contained, while the typical aroma of hops is perceived only moderately as it is dominated by the flavor of the toasted malt.
Kirin Tanrei Green Label Beer
Also produced by the “Kirin Brewery Company”.
Kirin Tanrei Green Label is a Happoshu, which means it contains less than 67% malt compared to other raw materials, excluding water, and is therefore cheaper. Very very thin. Overall, it doesn’t really taste like a beer. Not everyone can like it for its not very intense aroma, a taste that would not be said to be beer. It feels very watery and sweet in drinking it, considering the quality it does not have a very low cost.
These are only a part of the countless beers that Japan has introduced to the world market for some time now. I must say that it has nothing to envy to renowned western producers, neither in quantity nor in quality, so much so that these countries import from Japan different quantities of Japanese beers.