There aren’t many magazines in English printed in Japan and only a couple of bi-lingual ones so I was very surprised and pleased to discover
The Japan Beer Times, “The Craft Beer Magazine of Japan”,
a free(!) bi-lingual magazine.
It’s been going since the beginning of 2010 and is published quarterly it seems with articles on beer, breweries, home-brew recipes and even some haiku, along with lists of contact information for Japanese breweries.
It’s free from craft breweries, bars and tourist shops apparently buy unfortunately there are none near me (although there are lots of sake breweries…if only there was a bi-lingual magazine for sake!), however it’s available to buy from their website at a token price of ￥50 plus postage.
I bought the last 3 issues for a total of ￥350, a bargain!
(For those outside of Japan worldwide shipping is only ￥400).
The magazines arrived a few days later and I was immediately impressed.
Printed on nice feeling rough paper, as opposed to the shiny glossy magazine paper you usually get, it adds an extra “craft” feel to it.
It’s well written and very informative (I especially liked the article in Issue 1 titled “What is Real Ale?”. I always thought it was called “Real” to differentiate it from the mass-produced “rubbish”, as in the “Real McCoy”, but apparently it’s called that because the yeast is still active and conditioning the beer in the casks, so is “real” or “alive”).
You learn something new every day.
Apparently there were some complaints after issue one, that there wasn’t enough information for “veteran” beer experts, so they plan to move in that direction in.
However I liked the fact it wasn’t too “hardcore”, so hopefully they can find a good balance in future issues.
I thought the article about Prague in issue one was an interesting article, but an odd choice for a Japanese Craft Beer magazine but later issues have included Baird Brewery in Numazu, Helios Brewery in Okinawa and
Ise Kadoya in Ise.
Anyone interested in craft beer, Japanese beer, homebrewing or wanting to learn some Japanese through the medium of beer!, should definitely pick up a copy of this magazine.
And at such a low price from their website, you’d be crazy not too.
Their website is at http://japanbeertimes.com/ and they are also on Twitter at @JapanBeerTimes
p.s. This may sound like an advert or paid blog post or something, but I have had no contact with them (other than purchasing the magazines, and saying hi on Twitter), I just think it’s good to support this kind of thing, especially when they’re doing such a good job.
Some Japanese Craft Beers I’ve tried:
Goya Dry from Helios Brewery
Kurayoshi Beer from Kume Zakura Micro Brewery Corp.
Kyoto Beer from Kizakura