Japanese beer is one of the most loved beverages in Japan. Here’s a list of best Japanese beers 2020 you should definitely try!
Japan is well-known for its rich and amazing beer. Beer has been famous in the country since the 19th century and is loved by all the people of the country. For beer enthusiasts, Japanese beer is a refreshing change from all different brews available in the market. In fact, beer, today, in more popular in Japan than Japanese whiskey!
The beer in Japan has a rich taste, is high in quality, and is made using the most amazing brewing methods. Trying the different types of Japanese beer is one of the best experiences for lovers of beer. Japan is known to love beer and it is a drink that is enjoyed by everyone at home, in parties, or in any kind of social gatherings.
Some of the best Japanese beer brands are Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo Yebisu. One of the places where beer takes the front seat is Japanese drink parties, which as known as Nomikai. At these drinking parties, it is beer that kicks off the party and gives it a great start.
There are different types of beers that are perfect for such parties. So, if you are in Japan and are attending a Nomikai, you know what you need to ask for at the beginning of the party. And having some of the best Japanese beer with sushi is the best combination you could ask for.
Japanese beer types
In Japan, there are three types of beer/ Or in other words, three ‘species of brews’.
The three types of Japanese beer are:
- Regular beer with an ABV of 5%: Some examples of this type of Japanese beer are Sapporo Premium and Asahi Super Dry. These beers are also imported to Australia and domestically are taxed very high!
- Happoshu: Did you know Happoshu translates to ‘Sparkling alcohol’. This is relatively a new Japanese beer type. It has the same alcohol content and flavor profile as regular beer. The only difference between regular Japanese beer and Happoshu is that Happoshu is made with lesser malt. This gives Happoshu a lighter taste. And also it’s cheaper than the regular beer.
- Daisan No Bīru: (aka third beer). This ‘new genre’ Japanese beer is the most recent addition to the Japanese beer scene. Daison no biru was introduced in the market due to Japan’s decision to raise taxes on Happoshu. Daison no biru is cheaper cause it’s malt-free and is made with wheat, soy or pea. This beer for sure will make your wallet happy but will it satisfy the beer lovers? Maybe not.
Rise of the Japanese craft beer
In Japan, only the big alcohol brands were allowed to brew beer. But recently, Japan gave up this law which allowed smaller breweries to flourish in Japan.
Today, Osaka and Tokyo have become the biggest centres for craft beer. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Sapporo and Kirin launched their lines of craft beer! rewing’.
Japanese Beer Drinking Etiquette
Japan has laid down some cultural beer drinking rules and if you’re drinking beer with a group in Japan, you simply gotta follow the rules. Basically, there are two simple rules.
First is, you don’t pour your own drink. You wait for someone else to pour beer in your glass and you do the same too, especially when you’re drinking beer from a shared bottle. In Japan, pouring your own drink is considered bad luck and more importantly, bad manners!
The second rule is to wait for everybody to start drinking. And before you take your sip, raise your beer glass and toast ‘kanpai’ (pronounced as gahn-pie)
We know it can be quite a task to find a beer that appeals to your soul and satisfies your beer soul, so here’s a list of best Japanese beers. For all of you beer lovers, we have brought you eight of the most amazing Japanese beer. Read on and get your beer mugs ready.
- Top Japanese Beer
- Sapporo Yebisu Premium Black – Best Japanese Beer
- Kirin Ichiban Shibori
- Suntory The Premium Malt’s
- Asahi Super Dry
- Kirin Lager
- Mugi to Hoppu Kuro
- Hitachino Nest
- Hideji Kuri Kuro
- Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
- Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale IPA Beer
- Hitachino Nest Anbai Ale
- Minoh Brewery’s W-IPA
- Shigakogen Beer
Top Japanese Beer
Sapporo Yebisu Premium Black – Best Japanese Beer
The first one in this list of best Japanese beer is the Yebisu beer.
The premium Yebisu beer is one of the high-priced beers of Japan. This beer is produced by the famous Sapporo breweries of Japan. What sets this beer apart from the rest of the beers available is its rich taste and high quality.
Another of the best things about this beer is that it is made from 100 percent malt and a selection of high-quality hop. It is a premium lager-style beer with an ABV of 5 percent.
This premium beer is bubbly and is golden in color with a thick, white head. You can get this beer in both bottles and cans. The best way to serve this beer is in a larger glass.
Related: Remember to keep yourself hydrated with the best Japanese bottled drinking water!
Kirin Ichiban Shibori
Best Japanese Beer With Sushi
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is Kirin!
This Japanese beer, Kirin, is one of the best-selling beers. It is not only loved in Japan but is enjoyed by people in different parts of the world. It is legally brewed in countries like Germany, the USA, the UK, and more.
It is a filtered pale lager-style beer with high-quality ingredients such as hops, barley malt, and spring water. It is loved by people for its bittersweet taste and its smooth finish.
It is clear golden in color with a thin white head. This is the perfect beer for parties and social gatherings with an ABV of 4.9 percent.
Related: Potato chips make a great sider with beer. Check out the some yummy Japanese potato chips here!
Suntory The Premium Malt’s
The next one this list of best Japanese beer is brewed by Suntory!
Produced by a well-known brewery called Suntory, this is another of the best Japanese beer. It is a premium lager-style beer that has a very pleasant floral aroma and a rich taste; these features make it very popular among the people.
Suntory The Premium Malt’s beer is brewed using traditional and high-quality brewing methods.
This beer is available in bottles and the best way to serve it is in a lager glass. The beer is amber in color and has a hazy head. The beer is primarily sweet in taste with a slight hint of bitterness. It has a rich aroma of malts and has an ABV of 5.5 percent. This is one of the best beers to enjoy during Japanese drinking parties.
Related: Rice crackers and alcohol make a great pair. Check out some healthy Japanese rice crackers right here!
Asahi Super Dry
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is the very popular Asahi super dry!
Asahi Super Dry has a rich history associated with it and is brewed by the famous Asahi Breweries of Japan. It is considered to be one of the most well-researched beers of Japan. It is one of the first forms of dry beer that was first sold in the year 1987.
The reason why this is considered to be the best beer in Japan is the fact that people can enjoy drinking this pleasant beer with less malt in it. The beer is clear with a crisp taste that is loved by all; it has an ABV of 5 percent.
The color is bright golden and is very bubbly. You can taste the refreshing taste of citrus and dry grass; it is this different taste that makes this beer stand out from the rest. Asahi Super Dry is available in bottles and the best way to serve it is in dimpled mugs or shakers. Japanese beer Asahi is also one of the best Japanese beers to have with Sushi
Related: Hide the alcohol breath with these refreshing Japanese breath mints. Check it out!
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is another variant of Kirin beer!
Tired after a long day at work? Are you left with extremely low energy levels? What you need on such days is this amazing Japanese beer Kirin Tanrei Green Label Beer. This is a pale-lager style beer that is extremely popular in Japan.
It is produced by Kirin brewery and claims to have a taste that helps bring back your lost energy after a tiring day.The beer is clear golden in color and forms a medium-thick head. You can make out the wonderful aroma of malts.
The best thing about the beer is the fruity taste with clear hints of malts, hops, and citrus. It is an ultra-light Japanese beer with an ABV of 4.5 percent. The best way to serve it is in a dimpled mug or a lager glass.
Related: Check out these yummy Japanese snacks to take back home as souvenirs!
Mugi to Hoppu Kuro
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is favorite amongst the locals in Japan – Mugi to Hoppu Kuro
This one is again one of the most popular beers of Japan, loved by people for its rich taste. It is produced by Sapporo breweries and is very interesting, just like its name.
The beer is brewed through a long-brewing process and it takes a long time to mature the beer. This process gives the beer a very rich taste. The beer is dark in color and it is believed that the color of the beer is almost black. It has a thin off-white head.
The main ingredients of the beer include hops and barley. The rich taste of the beer has hints of coffee and chocolate. The beer also has a bitter finish that appeals to the taste buds. The beer has an ABV of 5 percent and is one of the best Japanese beer to enjoy on a Japanese evening.
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is the Hitachino Nest
Brewed by Kiuchi Brewery in Japan and is brewed using traditional Belgian style brewing methods. The beer has ingredients such as nutmeg, orange juice, coriander, orange peel, larger malts, and wheat hops, along with others. With all the blend of these ingredients, you get a distinct aroma that tantalizes your taste buds.
The color of the beer is cloudy orange with a white head. The spicy taste of the beer has hints of orange, banana, and coriander.
The best way to serve this beer is in a tumbler or a Weizen. The beer has an ABV of 5.5 percent and gives a very refreshing taste.
Hideji Kuri Kuro
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer id definitely not recommended for beginners!
Looking for a beer with high alcohol content? Hideji Kuri Kuro is for you. This beer is also known as Dark Chestnut Ale and is produced by Hideji Beer Brewery in Japan.
Hideji Kuri Kuro is dark red and brown in color with a thick tan head that dissipates after a while. Hideji Kuri Kuro is syrupy and nutty giving the beer a distinct flavor.
There are hints of a fruity taste with a strong taste of hazelnuts, marshmallow, cola, vanilla, and cocoa. With all these flavors bursting in your mouth, you are surely going to enjoy it.
The ABV of the beer is 9 percent and is your best bet if you are looking to get drunk in Japan.
Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
Best Japanese Stout Beer
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is another variant of Hitachino Nest.
This Japanese stout beer is one of my personal favorites! This beer has a coffee-like flavor because of the espresso beans added to the process.
It’s black in color with brown head. And you will also notice aromas of chocolate, dark fruits, and roasted bitterness. It has an ABV of 7%. You should definitely try this Japanese beer when you’re in Japan!
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale IPA Beer
This one of the best-selling beers in Japan. The brewing process Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale IPA beer takes inspiration from original India Pale Ale that was brought to Japan in the 19th Century.
The maturing process takes place in cedar casks, just like how traditional Japanese sake is brewed. The ABV of the beer is 7.5 percent and is one of the top-selling Japanese craft beers!
Check out the best Japanese beer by Hitachino below!
Hitachino Nest Anbai Ale
This is one of the of best Japanese beer and you must definitely try it!
You can taste the sourness of the locally grown green sour plum that’s infused in Hitachino Nest Anbai Ale, and also a kick of saltiness due to the Japanese sea salt added to the mix.
The saltiness and sourness of the beer is in perfect balance and it’s definitely a joy to have this Japanese beer. The ABV content of the beer is 7%.
Check out the best Japanese beer by Hitachino below!
Minoh Brewery’s W-IPA
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is Minoh Brewery’s W-IPA. I absolutely love this brewery.
Minoh Brewery is owned by Masaji Oshita and his daughter Kaori. This father and daughter duo have gone through several hurdles to establish Minoh Brewery. But all that hardship paid off when Minoh Brewery won the award for specializing in all-grain brewing process!
Minoh Brewery W-IPA is an American style IPA with 9%ABV.
The next one on this list of best Japanese beer is the Shigakogen beer. The ingredients used in this beer like sake rice, blueberries, hops, barley and soba are specially grown just for brewing beer. Shigakogen has a defined, clear taste that certainly makes it stand out from the other Japanese beers.
#1 — What is the best Japanese beer?
Japanese love their beer! At any nomikai or a drinking party, they start with beer first and then move on to hard liquor. The go-to brand for many Japanese locals is the Asahi super dry beer.
Japanese Beer Asahi Super Dry is the best Japanese beer. Brewed by the famous Asahi Breweries of Japan, it has an ABV of 5 percent. You can taste the refreshing taste of citrus and dry grass; it is this different taste that makes this beer stand out from the rest.
|Best Japanese Beer||ABV (Alcohol by volume)|
|Sapporo Yebisu Beer||5%|
|Kirin Ichiban Shibori – Best Japanese Beer With Sushi||4.9%|
|The Premium Malt’s||5.5%|
|Asahi Super Dry – Best Japanese Beer||5%|
|Kirin Tanrei Green Label||4.5%|
|Mugi to Hoppu Kuro||5%|
|Hitachino Nest White Ale||5.5%|
|Hideji Kuri Kuro||9%|
|Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout||7%|
|Hitachino Nest Classic Ale IPA Beer||7.5%|
|Hitachino Nest Anbai Ale||7%|
#2 — What is the most popular beer in Japan?
Japanese beer Asahi super dry is the most popular beer in Japan and is one of the best-selling Japanese beer. It’s known world-over and those who love beer and are traveling to Japan always make it a point to have Asahi super dry beer during their time in Japan.
It has ABV of 5 percent and has notes of citrus and dry grass.
#3 — Which is better Sapporo or Asahi?
Japanese beer Asahi super dry has a clean, crisp taste and is a smooth drink. Sapporo, on the other, is slightly darker when compared to Asahi and has a sweeter taste in general with a strong after-taste. While both beers are one of the best-selling beers in Japan, it ultimately depends on what you like. My personal favorite between the two is the Asahi super dry!
#4 — Is Kirin or Sapporo better?
Kirin has a well-balanced clear taste and is brewed only once. It’s the best beer to have with sushi! And Sapporo, on the other hand, has a sweeter taste in general, with a strong after-taste. Both these beers are loved in Japan. And which one is better depends on your taste buds! But amongst the two, my favorite is Kirin beer!
#5 — Is Asahi a good beer?
Japanese beer Asahi super dry is one of the best-selling and most popular beers in Japan. It has a beautiful blonde color with a crisp, clean, smooth taste and ABV of 4.9%
We are all always looking out to explore new beers from all around the world. Here I’ve introduced you to some of the best Japanese beer 2020 you have to try! This list of the best brewed and the most popular beers of Japan is definitely worth every penny.
These beers are perfect to satiate all different kinds of taste buds. No matter what your type is, Japan has it brewed to perfection for you.
If you are planning to taste the best beers of Japan anytime soon, do not miss out on the ones on this list. However, if you like sticking to one, then the best thing to do would be to find the flavor that matches your taste buds.
With these best Japanese beers, get ready to have a new favorite. We are sure you will soon be recommending them at your next party.
Takashi Nomoni is a proud Japanese and loves everything about Japan – be it food, culture, or movies! She’s a passionate about writing and her love for writing and Japanese products makes her the best fit at Best Japanese Products. Takashi is a total workaholic so you’ll always find her with her laptop researching or testing the next best Japanese product. When she’s not working, you’ll find Takashi exploring local cafes and restaurants (where she can work out of!)