11 Japanese Beer Brands You Need To Try




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If you’ve visited Japan, you know that many things about Japanese culture can be difficult for Westerners to understand.

But one thing that has universal appeal is beer. While there are many different brands of Japanese beer, this list will cover the most popular 12.

In particular, I’ll explain why these beers have become so popular and why they’re so well-known among locals and travelers.

1) Kirin

Kirin is the oldest brewery in Japan, founded in 1869. It produces a wide range of beers, including its brand of Japanese lager, Kirin Lager, and other popular products like Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Black.

The company’s flagship beer is Asahi Super Dry (or “Super Dry”), which was first introduced to the market in 1987 and has since become one of Japan’s most popular beer brands.

Asahi Super Dry is sold all over Asia and Europe.

Sapporo has owned Kirin since 2009; together, these two companies dominate the Japanese market with over 50% share between them – an impressive feat for such an old industry!

2) Sapporo

The company is based in Hokkaido, which makes sense given that Hokkaido is a region known for its high-quality sake breweries.

Sapporo is a brand of beer that has been manufactured and sold by Sapporo Brewery since it was founded in 1876. Today, the company is one of Japan’s largest brewers.

The name “Sapporo” comes from the capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture, where the brewery is located.

3) Asahi

Asahi is one of Japan’s top three beer companies, and it is also an international brand. The company has more than 200 breweries across the globe, including locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

The company was founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1889. It’s also one of the world’s largest beer producers and has been ranked among Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” for several years.

The brand’s Japanese brewing techniques and outstanding taste come from using only the finest ingredients. The quality of Asahi beer is highly regarded, and the company has won numerous awards for its products.

4) Yebisu

Yebisu is a Japanese beer brand owned by Sapporo Brewery. It’s often served at Japanese restaurants and bars and was first brewed in 1890.

This brand might be the perfect choice if you’re looking for a light-tasting beer that won’t overpower your palate.

Yebisu is a pilsner-style beer, which means it has a light body and can be enjoyed by people who don’t like their beers too strong or heavy. The brew also has a mild hoppy taste that won’t overpower your palate.

5) Suntory

Since its founding in 1963, Suntory has been Japan’s leading brewer. The company owns some of that country’s most famous beer brands, including Yebisu and Hakushu, and brewing operations worldwide.

Suntory also produces a wide range of alcoholic beverages, including wine, whiskey, and brandy. The company’s most popular beer is Yebisu.

This brand is a light-bodied pilsner that’s often served as an accompaniment to Japanese cuisine.

The beer has a mild hoppy taste that won’t overpower your palate, but it does have enough flavor to make drinking it enjoyable.

6) Hitachino Nest

Hitachino Nest is also brewed in Ibaraki Prefecture by Kiuchi Brewery Company. It’s made with ingredients from both Japan and Europe, so it has a unique flavor that’s distinctly Japanese.

The brewery brews this beer in small batches, making it hard to get your hands on and ensuring that each bottle contains only the freshest beer.

Their beers are produced with a traditional Japanese brewing process called kombu-shibori, which involves adding seaweed to the beer during fermentation. This gives it a unique flavor that can only be found in Hitachino Nest Beer.

The brewery is located in the town of Ibaraki, north of Tokyo, just a short train ride away. You can visit the brewery and try their beers on-site or purchase them at your local liquor store.

7) Kizakura

Kyoto Brewing Company, or Kizakura, was established in 1925. It is one of the oldest breweries in Japan and has been producing beer since 1994.

The brewery offers several types of beer, including a black lager called Alt, a white lager called White Yuzu Ale, green tea-flavored beers, and seasonal ales.

Kizakura also produces a range of alcohol-free beers, including a traditional beer and one with ginger flavorings.

The brewery is located in Kyoto and offers guided tours. You can sample the beers on-site or purchase them at your local liquor store.

8) Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi’s beers are available in Japan, Europe, and North America. The brewery offers tours that include a tasting session with free-flowing beer samples. It also hosts a beer festival every year in October.

The brewery is located in the city of Hagi, which is about 30 minutes from Yamaguchi Airport. The company also operates a pub and beer hall in Tokyo, which serves as a meeting place for beer enthusiasts.

Yamada Nishiki Rice Lager was recently awarded the World Beer Award for Best Rice Beer.

9) Kawaba

Kawaba Shizuku is a brewery in Kawaba Village that produces the local beer Kawaba Shizuku.

The complex flavors of malt beers are created by mixing two critical ingredients called “mashing”: barley, which provides a distinct malty taste and tangy aroma, and water.

The brewery also produces a variety of other beverages, including fruit juice, tea, and coffee. The brewery is open for public tours and has an outdoor beer garden.

10) Echigo

Echigo is another brewery operating since 2001, but a small group of passionate beer enthusiasts only started it.

As such, they’ve got their hands complete with just one beer: Echigo Koshihikari, a brew produced in the German style with relatively low alcohol content.

However, this isn’t a bad thing! The brewery has different versions of its flagship beer: wheat beers to stouts and seasonal varieties.

The brewery is located in Niigata Prefecture; however, if you want to try their delicious ales for yourself, you’ll need to look online or head off on your travels around Japan, as most outlets don’t stock them outside their native region.

Echigo Beer is one of the best-kept secrets in Japan.

They have minimal production and distribution, so if you want to try their beer for yourself, you’ll need to look online or head off on your travels around Japan, as most outlets don’t stock them outside their native region.

11) Monsuta

Monsuta is another brewery with a unique history. They produce beers that are inspired by traditional Japanese tastes, as well as some more unusual flavors.

They’ve also collaborated with famous artists, including Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara.

Their passion for art is apparent in their beers, and they’re well worth checking out if you want something different from your regular beer.

Japanese beer tends to be crafted in the German style.

Japanese beer tends to be crafted in the German style

The Japanese beer we know and love today has been influenced by the German, American, British, and Belgian styles. After World War II, Japan’s brewers had to rebuild their economies from scratch.

They looked to Europe for inspiration because of its rich brewing heritage and extensive use of local ingredients like rice.

As a result, Japanese beer tends to be crafted in the German style with some influence from other Western European countries and North America (more on this later).

This means that you’ll see many beers made with barley or wheat but few made with corn or rye (unless they’re an American style).

The same goes for hops: bolder flavors like citrus notes are more likely than earthy ones like pine needles.

The most popular ingredients for making Japanese beer include rice, malt syrup made from barley malt, malted barley itself (the preferred grain); wheat flour; water; hops; yeast, sugar syrup or molasses, and spices.

Which is better, Asahi or Sapporo?

Asahi is, in my opinion, a better beer than Sapporo. It has a more complex flavor profile and is slightly less sweet.

I’d say that Asahi is marginally better than Sapporo, though; if you choose between the two for the first time, don’t worry about which one to pick!

What beer do Japanese people drink?

  • Sapporo. This is the most popular beer in Japan, and you’ll find it in many restaurants and bars throughout the country. It’s also the official beer of the Japanese National Football Team.
  • Asahi Super Dry. This one is close to Sapporo but still manages to capture about half of all beer sales in Japan!
  • Kirin Ichiban Shibori Ale. Kirin Ichiban was first brewed over 150 years ago, making it one of Japan’s oldest breweries! You can get this beer at most convenience stores or supermarkets in Japan (and some online).

Most beers consumed by Japanese people are light lagers with a mild taste, which is not surprising since they’re usually paired with food rather than enjoyed as an indulgence when you’re out on your own!

There are also a lot of craft beers available in Japan that you can find at many bars and restaurants throughout the country.

If you’re looking for something more unique, try Kirin Beer Black or Asahi Super Dry Black.

These dark brews have aged in wooden barrels for up to two years, making them taste like whiskey!

Japan’s most popular beer is Sapporo.

Sapporo is the oldest brewery in Japan, established in 1876. The company produces about 1.4 million barrels of beer annually, making it one of the largest breweries in the world.

It’s available in more than 20 countries and was even served at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City!

Sapporo is a staple of Japanese culture and has been the official beer of the Tokyo Marathon for more than 20 years.

The brand is known for its “pure-tasting” brews, which have only four ingredients: water, malt, hops, and yeast.


So, what do you think? Which of these beers will you try first? Well, we hope this article has been helpful to you.

We know how hard it can be to find the right beer for your taste buds, but we believe that with our list of 12 quality Japanese beers, you’ll be able to make a perfect choice!

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