Drinking in Japan: Beer
At an izakaya (Japanese-style bar), you may often hear someone shouting “beer to start with!” from somewhere. Japanese beer goes well with Japanese dishes. Many Japanese people like beer and usually order beer to start off with for a toast. We will feature the culture of local beer in Japan as well as popular craft beer.
■ Categories of BeerJapan is the only country that has three categories for beer, including beer, happoshu, and a new, third type.
Beer is made from fermentation of ingredients, including malt, hops, and water. When the ratio of malt used in the total amount of ingredients is 50% or over, it is called beer. The regulation and rules have changed to allow those made with other auxiliary ingredients, such as fruit and seasonings, rather than wheat, rice, and corn, to also be called beer.
Happoshu, sometimes referred to as low malt beer, is lighter than beer and easy-to-drink.
New category: the third beer
The third beer doesn’t use malt at all for production, so it is not beer but a beer-like beverage. It is cheaper than real beer, making it less expensive and easier on the wallet.
■ Some Tips Concerning Japan’s Beer Culture
Beer and edamame
Beer is often served with edamame (green soybeans) at bars and restaurants. Both go together perfectly!
Frozen draft beer
Some places serve frozen draft beer during the hot and humid summer. The frozen foam gives a crispy texture and it looks like soft-serve ice cream. You may feel as if you are eating beer-flavored soft-serve ice cream. It is perfect in summer.
It is more popular as a summer event to enjoy ice-cold beer with yakiniku (grilled meat) outdoors rather than going to izakaya.
■ Beer Gardens in Tokyo
Mt. Takao Beer Mount
Hilton Odaiba Craft Beer Garden