Here’s a list of Japanese craft breweries in Japan that make some of the best craft beer in town! Check it out!
Ever since beer was first introduced in Japan, it has been one of the forerunners on the East Asian craft beer market. Today, the craft beer market in Japan has reached new heights and it is the seventh-largest beer producer in the world.
The Japanese have truly mastered the art of craft Brewing and the several breweries all over the nation give two hours of unique and delicious flavors. There are tons of breweries all over Japan that are popular across the world, but today we are focusing on the top 10 breweries that are known for their unique flavors.
If you ever decide to visit Japan I suggest that you give these breweries a visit to understand what Japanese craft beer really is.
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Top Japanese Craft Breweries
Yo-Ho Brewing, Nagano
This Japanese craft brewery was first started by Yoshiharu Hoshino because he could not find any local beer that could compare to the American counterparts. He got this idea of starting his own brewery after he returned from the US where he was an Exchange Student.
Yo-Ho brewery started in 1996. Most other local breweries at that time focused largely on the tourists, however, this was not the case with Yo-Ho, which was started for the enjoyment of every beer drinker.
This Japanese craft brewery has become so popular today that you do not find it only in Japan, but you can also get it in different parts of the world. When Yoshiharu first started it, he did not know that it will completely change the Japanese craft beer market. However, we can see the huge success earned by this Brewing company today.
Minoh Brewery, Osaka
Osaka is a city that is completely enthralled with food and drink. Keeping this in mind, Minoh brewery first set off on its path to success in 1997. This Japanese craft brewery opened up as a gift from a father to his two daughters.
This Japanese craft brewery is one of the most innovative and award-winning breweries in the entire nation. If you love something different and unique, you should definitely try their part-beer part-wine drink, which is known as Minoh cabinet.
Most of the breweries try to copy drinks from different parts of the world, Minoh brewery however is constantly trying to experiment with new flavors and bring out something very different and unique.
Abashiri Beer Brewery, Hokkaido
This japanese craft brewery first began as a part of the initiative of the Tokyo University of Agriculture bio-industry faculty. It was basically set up to research and develop the production of wheat beer.
Today, this brewery is extremely famous for the very unique Okhotsk Blue Ryuho Draft. This is a very unique drink that mixes the water coming from melted icebergs from the Sea of Okhotsk in the Pacific Ocean.
The drink also has a vibrant blue color that comes by adding natural gardenia pigment to the mix. The color and the ingredients make you think of the ocean and that is exactly what the brewery was trying to achieve. The specialty of this Japanese craft brewery is their colored beer, which you must definitely give a try.
Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki
This brewery first started as a sake brewery in 1823. It was only converted into a Japanese craft brewery in 1996. Today apart from Japanese craft beer, you can also get the very popular shochu and wine here.
I absolutely love the Hitachino Nest beer that is extremely tasty and is also quite popular throughout the country. This beer is also now distributed in 15 countries across the globe. If you ever visit Japan, this is an experience you must absolutely partake in.
This unique Japanese beer has won so many awards over the years. You must also visit the brewery to be able to enjoy the small bar where you can indulge in the brewery’s extensive range of drinks.
Baird Brewing Company, Shizuoka
This brewing company started off very small. This was the first smallest craft brewery in Japan to obtain the license in Japan. After years of hard work and owing to their delicious Japanese craft beers, the brewery finally managed to expand.
Today, you will find several branches of this Japanese craft brewery in different parts of Japan and the beers are also exported abroad. While most of us enjoy our beers ice-cold, this brewery tries to prove that you did not need something like that; the beer only needs to be somewhat cool to be able to taste great.
The way that beer is made is also quite unique; their beer is always unfiltered and once it is packaged, it gets fermented twice.
Swan Lake Brewery, Niigata
Swan Lake Brewery only makes use of the finest of ingredients to make their Japanese craft beer. These ingredients include the very pure and very pristine pure Niigata spring water. In all these years of production and operations, Swan Lake Brewery has become the country’s finest craft brewery serving the best Japanese craft beer.
The craft beers from this Japanese craft brewery have won several awards both domestic and international. If you would like to experience a very refreshing and delicious taste, this is one place to be. Do not miss out on their popular and refreshing Swan Lake Ale while you’re at it.
Okhotsk Beer Factory, Hokkaido
This is another popular Japanese craft brewery in Hokkaido that makes use of the region’s climate, local ingredients, and water to make sure that they are always serving you with the most delicious craft beer in Japan.
The one drink that I would highly recommend from this brewery is their Red Ale. This is a full-bodied beer that has an amazing taste. You must also try out their signature beers including Mild stout and pilsner.
SOC Brewing (North Island Beer), Hokkaido
The associate Japanese craft brewery is known for its extremely popular North island beer. If you are anywhere around the area, believe me, you need to have this trendy drink. While you are here, you can also experience everything about the Japanese beer-making factory, including how it is made. You can also taste the delicious Japanese craft beers that come straight from the barrel.
Miyashita Sake Brewery, Okayama
In Japan, this craft brewery is known for its extensive range of delicious sake. Abroad, however, this Japanese craft brewery is well known for its beer called Doppo. This Japanese craft beer is brewed in the temperate climate of Okayama.
This craft beer contains live yeast and is made using the special skills of the brewery. Their key ingredient, which has a huge role in the success of their Japanese craft beer is Omachi rice. The brewery also brings out several seasonal flavors such as the chocolate deer that comes in specially for Valentine’s Day.
Kyoto Brewing Company (Kyoto)
Kyoto Brewing Company (KBC) in Kyoto was started by Chis Hainge, Benjamin Falck and Paul Speed back in 2015.
This Japanese craft brewery uses hops imported internationally from countries like New Zealand, USA, Slovenia, Australia and UK. KBC’s beer have mostly have Belgian influence with Belgian saisons, blonde ales and stouts being their major beers.
Brewery Songbird (Chiba)
Brewery Songbird was also launched in 2015. The owners of this Chiba-based Japanese craft brewery are Kyohei and Monami Nakajima. Brewery Songbird is also known for its Belgian style craft beers. Although, the brewery also produces some European style beers.
You can buy Brewery Songbirds beers online, at the tasting room or their bottle shop.
Outsider Brewing, Yamanashi
When it comes to all the different breweries in Japan, Outsider Brewing is quite a new name. It took birth in 2012 only, however, that is not the parameter to judge it for its success. In such a short period of time, Outsider Brewing has earned a lot of fame and success in the Japanese craft beer market.
It is well known for its local craft beer. This Japanese craft brewery is also known to make use of wild yeast rather than cultivated yeast used by almost all of the breweries. This gives their beers a very unique and delicious taste.
Japanese Breweries: FAQs
What is the Number One beer in Japan?
There are so many different brands of beers in Japan but when it comes to choosing the number one, nothing competes with the Asahi Super Dry. This beer is known to be the perfect complement to your food. Whether you are eating something spicy or pickled, this beer goes really well with all of them. The flavor is really light and mild which does not compete with the flavors of your food.
What are the best Japanese craft beers?
Some of the best Japanese bears include the following: Asahi Super Dry, Kirin Light, Sapporo Premium, Yebisu.
Is Japanese beer made with rice?
Most Japanese beers are made using rice. Brands like Sapporo, Kirin, and Asahi all make use of rice as their main ingredient. Rise-based beers are quite creamy, refreshing, and sweet.
Why is Japanese craft beer so popular?
Japanese craft beer is giving a lot of popularity across the United States. Most of these craft beers are made using the European styles that are quite popular among Americans. There are several more reasons for the popularity of craft beer. The first being that the Japanese are extremely consistent about their brewing methods. They are very precise about the craft growing and that is why every bottle you take is almost flawless. The Japanese also play with their locally sourced ingredients making them extremely unique. Despite using several ingredients they always work with a particular flavor profile in mind and they stay focused on that.
The best Japanese breweries in Japan!
With so many breweries in Japan, it is quite easy to understand why Japanese craft beer and other liquors are so popular worldwide. These were some of the breweries that I frequent and love.
The unique flavors and the Brewing methods of these breweries are what make them unique and different from all the other microbrewing companies all over the nation. If you are in Japan, make sure that you visit at least one of them and understand the true beauty and taste of Japanese beer.
Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!