Japanese "Craft Beer" or real ale is undergoing something of a boom in a country for too long dominated by the uniform brews of the big four Japanese beer producers: Kirin, Asahi, Suntory and Sapporo.
Toshi Ishii, who has studied brewing in the USA, Czech Republic and Norway is a leading light in the Craft Ale revolution with his own company Ishii Brewing.
Some time back Toshi e-mailed Stone Brewing Company in California as his name translates as "stone" and was taken on as a 3-year intern, thus beginning a long journey to becoming a master brewer.
Toshi's prize-winning "Amber Ale" is his trademark beer on the foreign circuit. Back home in Japan Toshi was responsible for the popular Yona Yona Ale, an American style golden pale ale, brewed by Yo-Ho Brewing in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture.
Craft Beer is not cheap in Japan, I recently paid 1,100 yen for half a wine glass of a top beer in Nagoya, but by god, it did taste great.
Some recommended bars to sample craft beer in Nagoya city include Bar Cask (Tel: 052 752 8200) not far from Kakuozan Station on the Higashiyama Line of the Nagoya subway, Craft Beer Keg (Tel: 052 971 8211) near TV Tower in Sakae and Cafe Lembeek (Tel: 052 734 8558) near Motoyama Subway Station also on the Higashiyama Line.
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