Beer By The Horn

Up in Hokkaido sits Otaru Beer, a Japanese brewery dedicated to brewing strict German styles. Luckily, you don’t have to visit the little town of Otaru to sample their beers as they are available in central Tokyo. The Beer Horn bar, in Akasaka, serves up Otaru beers in actual animal horns. This was something my […]

Mad Capper Reviews: Hitachino Nest Dai Dai Ale

This week’s brewery is a major player in the Japanese craft beer scene. Originally established in 1823, Kiuchi Brewery got started as a brewer of sake (Japanese rice wine). As collectors of rice as tax for the ruling family at the time, founder Kiuchi Gihei used surplus rice to begin brewing. After World War II […]

Happoshu: Expertly Crafted Non-Craft Beer

Any Japanese supermarket or convenience store has a dizzying array of beer options. However, a closer look at the labels will reveal that most of these beers are in fact “happoshu” (発泡酒 ) a low malt beer variant that could be compared to warm dishwater. Why would this sort of product have more shelf space […]

Mad Capper Reviews: Kirin Ichiban Shibori Stout

This week, we have another beer from Japan, Kirin Ichiban Shibori Stout. Kirin had its beginnings in 1885, when it took over the assets of another company, Spring Valley Brewery, which had been established by a Norwegian-American in Yokohama, Japan in 1869. The brewery was originally known as Japan Brewery Company, but three years after […]

Mad Capper Reviews: Premium Yebisu

Our feature this week is Yebisu, a German pale lager based on the Dortmunder style. Originally established in 1887 as the Japan Beer Brewery Company, Yebisu took its name from the Japanese god of fishermen and luck, one of the seven Gods of Fortune. The brewery was initially located on a plot of farmland in […]

Conbini Showdown!

In a perfect world there would always be a delicious craft beer close at hand. We don’t (yet) live in that world, especially in Japan. A friend and I did a blind taste test of Japanese macro-beers, to help in those moments when your only option is whatever is on sale at the local convenience […]

Keyaki Hiroba Beer Festival, Spring 2015

This May the Keyaki Hiroba Beer Festival returns to the Saitama Super Arena. One of the biggest beer festivals in the Kanto area, the Keyaki Beer Fest has had more beer and more crowds every year. This year they are dong something about it, and splitting the whole festival in to two different “Seasons.” Season […]

Zakkoku Kobo Micro Brewery

A few days before I left Japan I had the great fortune to stop by the Zakkoku Kobo brewery in Saitama. A friend recently discovered this out of the way brewpub, and I knew I had to go while I had the chance. Located in Ogawa, Saitama Zakkoku Kobo may well be Japan’s smallest brewery, […]

The Mad Capper Reviews: Tokyo Black

The highlight of this week’s review is Tokyo Black from the Yo-Ho Brewing Company located in the town of Karuizawa in the the mountainous prefecture of Nagano, Japan. Yo-Ho was established in 1996, shortly after an amendment to Japan’s liquor tax laws made possible the existence of smaller breweries. It is the largest craft brewer […]