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Our Guide to Popular Japanese Beers 

Drink these favorite beers from Japan with your sushi or on their own.

Japan is well known for its rich and distinguished culture. An essential part of Japanese culture is their food and drink. Many people are familiar with sushi and ramen, but not as many people are familiar with Japanese beer.

Minor brands of Japanese liquors are including beer

I discovered Japan’s rich beer culture and history when I was living there. The first beer in Japan was brewed in 1853 by William Copeland, a British merchant.

Since then, the Japanese beer industry has increased. There are now over 1,200 breweries in Japan!

Best Japanese Beers

So, what are the best Japanese beers? I have compiled a list of the nine best Japanese beers. Each of the beers on this list has unique characteristics, and I encourage you to try them all.


Kirin Ichiban Shibori

I think that Kirin Ichiban Shibori is one of the purest beers made in Japan.

Kirin selects the highest quality malt to maximize the results of the Ichiban Shibori brewing technique.

The combination of high-quality malt and this unique brewing process results in a lager with deep flavor and a sweet finish.

Ichiban Shibori is my favorite Japanese beer. I love the deep flavor and sweet finish. It pairs well with grilled meats and is perfect for a summer BBQ.


Asahi Super Dry

Asahi Super Dry is one of the most popular beers in Japan. It is a light beer with a crisp and clean taste.

Asahi Super Dry has won many awards in Japan and internationally, and it is one of the most accessible Japanese beers to find outside Japan.

Asahi Super Dry’s outstanding taste comes from the perfect combination of high-quality ingredients and the ideal brewing method.

I am a big fan of the dry and crisp taste of Asahi Super Dry, and I think it pairs well with most foods.

Asahi Super Dry is one of the best Japanese beers. Its light color and light flavor make it easy to drink. Like many American beers, you make it with rice and malted barley.


Kawaba Snow Weizen

Kawaba Snow Weizen is a seasonal beer and is considered a winter beer. You make this beer with wheat and malted barley.

Snow Weizen gets its unique flavor from the yeast used in the brewing process. This beer is cloudy and has a light taste, and it pairs well with more delicate foods such as salads and pasta dishes.

It has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 5%, so the alcohol content is higher than some beers.

I enjoy the light and fruity flavor and the refreshing finish. Kawaba Snow Weizen is a great beer to drink on a hot day. I think it is the best wheat beer brewed in Japan.


Sapporo Premium Beer

Sapporo Premium Beer is a Japanese Icon. You can order this Japanese beer in almost any sushi restaurant.

Sapporo was first brewed in 1876 and has been a favorite ever since. Sapporo is the beer most commonly associated with the infamous Sake Bomb.

Sapporo Premium Beer is a light beer with a crisp and clean taste. You brew this beer with rice.

Sapporo has won many awards and is one of the most popular beers in Japan. Its light taste makes it a perfect match for most meals.

In addition to an outstanding flavor and finish, I love the unique can that Sapporo comes in.


Echigo Koshihikari

Echigo Koshihikari is a rice lager brewed in Niigata, Japan, and the brewmasters only use the highest quality ingredients. It has a light and crisp taste with a mild finish.

Echigo Koshihikari is my favorite beer to drink with sushi. The light and crisp taste pairs perfectly with the delicate flavors of sushi.

The light finish of the beer is a great palate cleanser and doesn’t conflict with my favorite sushi rolls.

Like other Japanese beers, you make it with rice. It is definitely in the running for the best Japanese beer.


Hitachino Nest Beer Japanese White Ale

Hitachino Nest Beer Japanese White Ale is a Belgian-style wheat beer brewed in Ibaraki, Japan.

The yeast used in the brewing process gives this beer a unique flavor.

Hitachino Nest Beer Japanese White Ale has a light and refreshing flavor. It is perfect for a hot day. The beer is a bit sweeter than most beers and has a lower alcohol content.

Hitachino Nest beer is an excellent beer for people who are new to Japanese beer. The light flavor and lower alcohol content make it great for unique individuals to the Japanese beer scene.

I enjoy this beer because of the light mouthfeel, dry finish, and the hit of fruit that accompanies each sip.


Suntory The Premium Malt’s

Suntory, The Premium Malt, is a Japanese beer brewed with the highest quality ingredients.

It has a light flavor with a hint of sweetness. The malt used in the brewing process gives this beer a clean finish.

The combination of taste and finish makes this beer drinkable, and it is easy to drink many Suntories.

Suntory, The Premium Malt, pairs well with fried chicken and burgers. The light flavor of the beer won’t overpower the taste of your food.

The finish is clean, so it won’t leave you feeling full and bloated after your meal. Suntory is also a prominent Japanese whiskey brand you should try!


Yebisu

Yebisu is a golden ale brewed in Japan. It was first brewed in Tokyo in 1890, but it can trace its origins back to the 1500s.

Yebisu is one of the finest Japanese beers.

Yebisu is brewed according to the German standard of Reinheitsgebot. Reinheitsgebor is a Bavarian Purity Law that was written in 1516 to ensure the quality of beer.

Make sure to drink this beer in the right type of glass.

By following this high standard, Yebisu is an outstanding and satisfying beer with a distinct and unique taste.


Orion Premium Draft Lager

Orion Premium Draft Lager is a Japanese beer brewed on the island of Okinawa.

It has a light and crisp flavor with a slightly sweet finish. The beer is made with locally grown ingredients. Okinawa is a tropical island that is some distance from the Japanese mainland.

The different climate and local ingredients give Orion a different taste and mouthfeel than the other Japanese beers on this list.

I think it is more similar to beers from other parts of South East Asia like Thailand, Vietnam, or Indoneisa.

Orion Premium Draft Lager is my favorite Japanese beer. I love the light and crisp flavor. The slightly sweet finish is perfect for relaxing on the beach.

The beer is also very refreshing. I always feel great after drinking Orion Premium Draft Lager.


Best Japanese Beers

  1. Kirin Ichiban Shibori
  2. Asahi Super Dry
  3. Kawaba Snow Weizen
  4. Sapporo Premium Beer
  5. Echigo Koshihikari
  6. Hitachino Nest Beer Japanese White Ale
  7. Suntory The Premium Malt’s
  8. Yebisu
  9. Orion Premium Draft Lager

Final Thoughts

There you have it, my list of the best Japanese beers. I hope you enjoy trying out these delicious beers. I hope this list has encouraged you to try some of these delightful and unique beers.

I highly encourage you to explore the different Japanese beers. They are of the highest quality and take a unique approach to the brewing process. I promise you will not be disappointed.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below.

Check out other types of beer like popular sour beers, or other drinks like Korean soju!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.