Since I've been trying to stick to a low carb diet I've had to give up beer. Most of the time I've "behaved", but I have also fallen off the wagon a bit from time to time. But when I'm on holidays in some new and interesting place I consciously decide that I will have a beer or two, but only if they're "interesting".
While on my recent trip to Japan I was delighted to find a really good selection of craft Japanese beers. Sure, you couldn't find a stellar selection in every single bar or restaurant you went to, with many opting for the "big brands" like Asahi or Sapporo, but there were plenty of opportunities to try out some of the more interesting beverages.
On the island of Miyajima there's the Miyajima brewery that play on the the presence of the deer on the island - see one of their ads above.
As I mentioned I had lunch in the brewery, but what I hadn't mentioned were the various beers I tried. They offer flights of beers for visitors to sample:
I also found that supermarkets and department stores were very well stocked with local craft beers. So a beer you could find in Kyoto you probably wouldn't get so easily in Hiroshima or Kobe.
My approach to craft beers is pretty simple. I'll try anything once. And when you're in Japan you know you're going to come across flavour combinations that you won't find elsewhere. The "rice lager" for example. What on earth is that? I've no idea, but I wanted to find out.
Over the course of my few days traveling around Japan I was able to try out a reasonable selection of interesting Japanese beers. Most of them I'll probably never be able to find in Ireland.
In a pub in Kobe, for example, I was able to try Suruga Bay Imperial IPA. While I was in Kyoto, however, all the beers I tried were local to Kyoto so I had Kyoto Craft Gosho Beer Karuosu, Kyoto Bakushu Kölsch, Kyoto Craft Hanamachi Beer Mattari, Kyoto Bakushu Alt over the course of a couple of evenings.
I hope the housekeeping staff in the Sheraton in Hiroshima didn't think I was an alcoholic, but I left behind a nice selection of empties:
Now I'm back in Ireland and back to avoiding beer again - at least for now!