In the past few years there’s been a bit of a craze for craft beer in Japan, the best part about it has been the Craft Beer Festivals. The worst part, expensive wanky restaurants selling fancy food and beer have popped up all over the place, like pimples on my proverbial buttocks. You know the kind; lots of wooden furniture, posters of American gas stations, fancy coasters with buxom blonds on them and overpriced hot chips. I both love and loathe these places. I love the beer but loathe the pretentious “laid-back” atmosphere. Why can’t they just skip the frikkin decor and drop the prices so we can get drunk on good beer? No-one in Japan is laid back!So it’s usually just the one pint for me and then straight to the bottle-o. My favourite microbrewery in Osaka is still Mino beer, but most convenis will have one or two fancy brands, like Yona Ale, and if you go to a fancy store or department store you can find an entire range of Japanese and imported craft beers.
I’ve found most of the beers to be pretty tasty, with the occasional experimental flavour going awry, and I usually stick to the ales. I drink ales any day of the year, Corona’s only when I’m in Mexico and Okinawan beer only when I’m in Okinawa . . . let’s just say it like that.
The craft beer venues are spread out all over the city and range from chilled, golden taps to “I’m runnin’ this place with my dad.” At any of these places you can pick up a craft beer map that will show you where all the hip places are to be found. My top picks are Craft Beer Base BUD and Molto in the Hankyu Grand building. Prices are ridiculously high, but BUD feels slightly less wanky, and Molto has an amazing view of the city.