Posted: 2 weeks ago Bihar, IN

Japanese Craft Beer

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Beer and Humans Beer and humans have a long and storied history. In fact, historians believe that beer’s history is so long that some of the first writings from Babylon, which mentioned beer in the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and places to buy beer. Beer even has its own goddess, Ninkasi, who is often praised to be the goddess of alcohol. Nearly every country in the world consumes beer, and that has made it the third most drunk beverage around the world – behind water and tea. Is whiskey more your kind of beverage? Dekanta has some stunning Japanese whiskeys and they deliver worldwide in a few days. Japan's Beer History Japan also has its own history with beer, though not quite as long as the Babylonians. Beer was first introduced into Japan in the 17th century when Dutch sailors, who were stationed in Dejima, Nagasaki, wanted somewhere to drink. The Dutch traders at the time opened a beer hall strictly for those sailors working between Japan and the Dutch Empire. Over time, and as Japan became more open to trade, other countries began to import their beer, with Bass Pale Ale and Bass Stout being two of the more popular brands at the time. Despite beer being popular, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the first domestic brewery was opened up by a Norwegian-American called William Copeland. While he might not be well-known, the brewery that he opened was called the Spring Valley Brewery, which later became the Kirin Brewery Company, and in what became a full circle, later became Kirin Brewery’s efforts to crack the craft beer market. Japan's Big Four: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, Suntory When you think about beer in Japan, no doubt you will think of one of the big four brands: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, and Suntory. Those four beers have dominated the beer scene for so long in Japan that the image of a beer is synonymous with the plump white head of a beer on top of the golden hues of a lager-style beer. Those beers have become massive hits because they all hit different niches in the market. Asahi Super Dry with its clean flavor is used to pair against Japanese cuisine, which is light in flavor. Kirin Ichiban has a full malt flavor that is good for the first beer after a day at work. Sapporo evokes the image of Hokkaido and German-style pilsners. While Suntory is at the higher end of the beers and is used to show off quality and workmanship. Some of these beers have become so popular that it possible to buy them overseas, with Asahi Super Dry, Kirin Ichiban, and Sapporo Draft being three examples that can be bought in many countries. Birth of The Japanese Craft Beer Market However, since 1994, the craft beer market has been steadily growing and has gone through a variety of changes after the government relaxed the limitations for making beer. In the past, breweries needed to produce a minimum of 2 million liters of beer per year to obtain a license, well beyond the capacity of all small breweries. In 1994, the government reduced this limitation down to 60,000 liters per year for a beer license, where only water, malt, hops, and yeast are allowed, or 6,000 liters for what is known as a happoshu license, where a certain amount of the ingredients have to be non-beer ingredients, such as tea, fruit, or in some circumstances salmon. Pale Ales and India Pale Ales The craft beer market in Japan has its focuses on beers that are primarily not lagers – why try to imitate the big four brands when they have been doing what they’re good at for years? Moreover, lagers tend to take a long time to make, with anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks for the whole process to be complete. Craft beer breweries, those that produced smaller amounts of beer than their larger counterparts, have been influenced by both styles that were originally brought over by the brewers employed at the time, with a heavy focus on German-style beers, but also styles that are popular in America, so pale ales and India pale ales. Craft Tasting Notes: Characteristics and Communities The flavors tend to vary wildly compared to lagers, with pale ales and IPAs focusing on more hops in the beers. So citrus, tropical, and earthy flavors are more prominent; wheat beers focus more on the wheat portion so creamy and oat, stouts and porters have a richer, darker flavor profile so chocolate, coffee, and cocoa are often noted. Then there are the fruit beers using a variety of produce from local communities, so fruits like yuzu, hyuganatsu, grapes, and oranges can be found throughout the year. Contact us: 8004-1 Nishiminowa Ina City, Nagano Prefecture 399-4501 Website:
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