Start 14-Day Trial Subscription

*No credit card required

Editorial Dept.'s picture

Japanese Craft Beer Arrives in the United States

Japanese Craft Beer Arrives in the United States

Japanese Artisanship Meets Craft Beer

Even though it plays a leading role in cutting-edge technological developments, Japan is also a country that proudly preserves its traditional crafts and occupations, resulting in a wealth of artisanal heritage. It will come as no surprise, then, that when Japan was first introduced to the concept of beer by Dutch merchants in the 17th century, the art of beer brewing was adopted and cultivated with the same level of care and pride used in all other forms of craftsmanship in the country. Inseparable from the cultivation of craft beer in Japan is the art of sake brewing, and just as this process requires intricate attention to detail, so do artisans of Japanese craft beer develop their creations with a singular devotion to precision and care.

Japanese Craft Beer - Japanese Artisanship Meets Craft Beer

An Archipelago of Flavors

It is not only skilled craftsmanship that makes Japanese craft beer stand out; the type of ingredients and flavors found in each new creation speak to the idiosyncratic geography of the country.

Ask any Japanese person and they will tell you with pride that Japan is a country with four very distinct seasons, and naturally, each of these seasons brings their own varying produce. Favoring an adherence to the natural offerings of the earth rather than creating artificial flavors, the ingredients used by Japanese craftsmen of beer change depending on the time of year. It is thus possible to find beer flavored with sweet potato in one season, and the Japanese citrus fruit yuzu in the next season.

Japanese Craft Beer - The Purity of Kyoto

The Purity of Kyoto

Kizakura is one of the largest sake breweries in Japan. Founded in 1925 for the purpose of sake brewing, Kizakura also stakes a claim to being one of the oldest craft beer breweries in Japan, having debuted in this capacity in Kyoto in 1995. The use of water is essential in the sake-brewing process, and so at Kizakura, the water used in their craft beer is equally as important.

Kizakura uses the water of the Fushimi area of Kyoto, not only famous for its Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of orange torii gates, but also for its pure and abundant water. In addition to this pure water, Kizakura also uses the same yeast for some of their beer as they do for their sake, undoubtedly offering their beer a uniquely Japanese taste.

Japanese Craft Beer - The Joining of Tea and Beer Drinking Cultures

The Joining of Tea- and Beer-Drinking Cultures

Kyoto Beer Matcha IPA uses Uji green tea to create a green-tinted beer reminiscent of Japan’s famous matcha. Brewing the matcha together with copious amounts of hops, the result is an IPA that is truly Japanese. While the green hue may lead one to the assumption that this beverage is non-alcoholic, it actually has a higher-than-average alcohol percentage of 8.5.

Japanese Craft Beer - Kyoto Beer White Yuzu Ale

Crisp, Summer Flavors

Another of Kizakura’s typically Japanese beers is their Kyoto Beer White Yuzu Ale, which, as the name suggests, uses yuzu and mixes it with coriander to develop a crisp, summer-like flavor. While the style is that of a Belgium White, the unusual additions of yuzu and coriander provide this beer with a uniquely Japanese flavor.

Japanese craft beers that capture this spirit can be tried and tasted at various venues in the four West Coast cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland, as part of the Japanese Craft Beer Week campaign. Fifteen beers are available from the following six breweries: Coedo Brewery, DHC Beer, Karuizawa Brewery, Kizakura, Miyazaki Hideji Beer, and Yoho Brewing. These beers can be enjoyed in restaurants and bars across the four cities, with the campaign period lasting until the end of February 2020.

Kizakura craft beers are now available in the Los Angeles area at HONDA-YA TUSTIN. Please contact the restaurant for information about experiential tasting events currently being held with these beers. Be sure to follow Japanese Craft Beer on Facebook and Instagram to receive announcements on the latest venues and tasting events, and to learn about the participating breweries and their distinguished Japanese beer.


Campaign Period From December 20th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020
(Except 25th, 30th and 31st of December)

556 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780


Facebook: @JapaneseCraftBeerEN
Instagram: @japanese_craftbeer
Hashtag: #JapaneseCraftBeer