If there is a country in the world full of culture and traditions, it can undoubtedly be Japan. The land of the rising sun, where today, technology, modernity, and deep-rooted customs go hand in hand. Also, it has its little piece of history and beer culture written all over it.
Contrary to what one might think, Japan is considered the most alcohol-tolerant country, where 66% of the Japanese believe drinking alcohol to be morally acceptable.
Beer in Japan
Red Rose Amber Ale
Style: Red ale
Pair with: seafood, Port-Salut cheese, cheesecake, fried chicken, tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet)
Due to its sweetness, Red Rose pairs well with sour and sweet dishes; the former counters the sweetness while the latter complements it. Fatty foods, such as fried pork and fried chicken, also make for masterful pairings.
Pair with: burgers, pizza, roasted chicken, sashimi, grilled foods
Sapporo crafts Yebisu, an all-malt premium pale lager made according to the Reinheitsgebot standard.
Yebisu teems with kokumi, a rich, satiating taste sensation in the vein of umami but with yeast instead of glutamate.
Yona Yona Ale
Style: American pale ale
Pair with: tonkotsu (pork) ramen, dashi curry, caramel apple tart, Chinese red cooking
With eight consecutive gold medals at the annual International Beer Competition. Yona was one of the first breweries (1996) to produce craft beer after laws restricting small-scale production was relaxed.
Style: Japanese rice lager
Pair with: steak, sushi, rice dishes, curry, and other spicy foods
Echigo Koshihikari, the first Japanese craft beer (1995), uses rice as its grain, making for a crisp. Echigo’s brewmaster, Seiichiro Uehara of Uehara Shuzō sake fame, locally sources rice from the Niigata Prefecture for his beer, but not sake rice. Instead, he uses Koshihikari, a table variety that imbues the brew with its light, versatile character.
Hitachino Nest White Ale
Pair with: soft-shell crab, hummus, salty and cured foods
Made in the Belgian style by Kiuchi Brewery, has enough alcohol to improve your mood but not enough to hinder drinkability, same with bitterness.
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