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Beer in Japan
Belgian Beers in Tokyo, Japan
Advanced Beer knowledge
From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world. – St. Arnoldus
Belgian beer enjoys a well-deserved reputation as some of the finest (some would say the finest) in the world. The Beer Hunter himself, the late Michael Jackson, said Belgium was “the most colourful of all brewing nations” and rightly so.
Belgium, a nation with a beer brewing history that stretches back to at least the 12th Century, today produces an incredible 500 standard brews- a number that swells to over 1,000 when special “one off” beers are taken into account.
The Belgian Beer “boom” in Japan that has been gathering steam in recent years has meant that an increasing number of these unique brews have been making their way over to these shores in Belgian Beer pubs and in ‘up-market’ supermarkets or department stores.
Summer is soon to be here and with rising temperatures comes the perfect occasion to try these great Belgian brews while beating the heat. Enjoy!
Note: Belgian Beer is renowned the world over for several things such as its high-quality, unique taste and special characteristics. One item that occasionally is forgotten is the alcohol content tends to be much higher than domestic brands so you may want to keep that in mind. Op uw gezondheid/A Votre Sante!
Hoegaarden Regular, Grand Cru
Hailing from the city of Hoegaarden, a city known for its witbier since the Middle Ages, these 2 titles are amongst the most popular Belgian Beers available. Look out for the hints of orange and coriander. A great beer to begin your Belgian Beer tasting tour.
Chimay Rouge, Bleue, Blanche
Made in Trappist Monasteries, these beers can only be sold for the financial support of the monasteries in question or for charity. Chimay is one of the most common of this style of beer available in Japan and is one of only six that can carry the label “trappist beer”. The Rouge’s dark brown colour is well-balanced with a fruity, light aroma while the Bleue is a more copper-brown and has a slightly pepper tinge to its more flowery aroma making both great for meals. The Blanche is more bitter, a light orange-gold great for warmer days.
Similar to Trappist ales but made by brewers who license the name from abbeys.
Leffe Blonde, Leffe Triple
Leffe Blonde is the lighter of these two titles and a little easier to find in supermarkets and department stores around Tokyo. According to Leffe, the Blonde is ideally served at 0 degrees Celsius in a glass chilled to the same temperature. The Triple is known for being a non-filtered, cloudier beer with three times the malt of other Leffe titles.
Lambic beers are dry, sour brews made with sour cherries which lend them a distinct taste and appearance. BelleVue Kriekbier is one the world’s leading titles (kriek is Dutch for cherry) and is becoming more easily found as demand grows for this unique brew.
Stella Artois had initially been produced as far back as the 14th century and was revived once again in the 1920s. The most well-known brand globally (and the most readily available in pubs and shops throughout Japan) Stella Artois is a classic Belgian pilsner well-known for its smooth taste and finish.
The Beer Hunters Favourite
Duvel (Devil) was first brewed by Jan-Leonard Moortgat in the 1870s and took on its distinctive moniker after the First World War. Famous for being a pale, deceptively soft-tasting beer it was a favourite of Michael Jackson himself so well worth a try!
Belgian Beer Pubs
BELG AUBE, Belgian Beer Bar in Roppongi, Tokyo
Belg Aube, located near the Tokyo Midtown complex, carries more than 25 varieties of Tarunama Belgian Beer and over 70 kinds of bottled beer. Included in the selection are unique beers such as the Trappist beer brewed by monks, naturally fermented beer, fruit beers (cherry, etc), and white beer.
There are also monthly specials of beer on offer, allowing you to sample otherwise unavailable varieties. Each month Belg Aube produces a tasty food menu to match the beers on offer. Bring a date, bring your friends, or pop in by yourself! All are welcome.
Where to Buy Belgian Beer in Tokyo, Japan
Belgian Beer has become much easier to find in Tokyo these days and that extends to enjoying them while relaxing at home. While no one location is a library of Belgian Beer (as yet), a bit of exploring should enable you to sample quite a few varieties. Cheers!
National Azubu Supermarket
Dean and Deluca (occasionally)
Nissin World Delicatessen
Kaldi Coffee Farm (place by place)
And even Matsumoto Kiyoshii!
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