Every year Yokohama hosts one of the biggest and best craft beer festivals in the country, called Japan Brewers Cup. Yokohama seems like an appropriate host city, as it was home to Japan’s first beer breweries, including Spring Valley Brewery (now Kirin), which opened in 1870. Yokohama also has several respectable craft breweries, and roughly two dozen craft beer specialty bars, most of them within a few blocks of each other in Naka-ku. Shinya Suzuki, founder-brewer of Yokohama Bay Brewing, is the festival’s organizer–yep, it’s locally run and not exactly corporate. It’s not a dull three days, either.
32 Japanese craft breweries and 6 craft beer importers will be pouring a whopping 300 varieties of beer over the long weekend. It costs a mere ¥500 to enter the venue and after that, you pay as you drink. The prices vary from vendor to vendor, but have always been quite reasonable, starting from ¥300 a cup (pour sizes vary, too). Several local restaurant operators are also on hand, offering a tasty selection of food to pair with your beverages. This includes Charcoal Grill Green, which always writes our food column.
This is more than just a festival of eating and drinking, though; Suzuki has livened the atmosphere with other attractions. For starters, there are multiple acts of live music, ranging from blues to J-pop/idol (yes, kind of a jarring contrast, but that’s what makes the event kind of zany, too). There are cheerleaders. There’s even a troupe of local pole dancers that perform their sexy (and clothed) art. Finally, there’s a competition where brewers evaluate beer submissions, not hidden behind panels, but in front of festival goers–how’s that for transparency?
Beer fans, mark the date on your calendar. You may want to block off the following morning too.
Jan 26th 16:00~22:00 / 27th 11:00~21:00 / 28th 11:00~19:00