A craft beer paired with a lovely dram on the side sounds pretty heavenly in the middle of summer, right?
This is what the Shizuoka Whisky & Craft Beer Fair organizers were thinking when they decided to launch this wonderful event three years prior, right in the middle of Japan’s humid summer season.
The fair is organized by the Gaia Flow Company, which owns the recently launched Shizuoka distillery. So, keep an eye out if you want to taste some awesome new make spirit, and some young releases in the months to come.
The 2017 fair was held last month, on the 23rd of July and we are pleased to say that the attendance of the event almost doubled since last year. Whisky and craft beer fans seem to be rising steadily!
The event has a heavy focus on craft beer, which is seeing a huge boom in Japan, as well as globally, and featured many of the most successful breweries in Japan.
On the whisky side of things, small producers were in attendance with booths full of tasty treats this year, including Ichiro’s Chichibu distillery, Mars Shinshu and sister Tsunuki distilleries, White Oak, and Asaka. Of course, Shizuoka distillery offerings were also available for happy guests.
The admission was free, however, guests had to pay to sample the whiskies. Several of the seminars held during the day were also free, and others were paid.
However, these were hosted by some of the greats in the Japanese whisky world, so well worth the price!
Did you skip straight to this section? Well, we don’t blame you!
At the Chichibu booth visitors got a chance to taste some pretty amazing single casks releases. Among their usual flagship whiskies, an awesome single cask whisky was offered, which had been aged in an imperial stout barrel. Very in keeping with the whisky/beer theme of the event. Needless to say, this and all other Chichibu offerings were spectacular.
Another exciting addition at the event was a Chichibu barrel-aged Imperial IPA brewed by the award-winning Minoh brewery, based in Osaka. This 10.5 % beauty brought an intense burst of hoppy freshness, which was mellowed out by the subtle impact of the oak. I can’t help thinking that perfection isn’t far from that brew.
The Asaka distillery had some of its Yamazakura and 963 expressions available, White Oak offered some great Akashi samples, and Mars had its always delightful line-up of blends on display.
Shizuoka distillery new-make cask samples were also up for grabs.
Any whisky fan would be lost for words at the amazing offering available during the day.
As the Gaia Flow company is also the Japanese distributor for private bottlers Blackadder and Asta Morris, many rums, Scotch whiskies, and Irish whiskies were also available for sampling.
Here’s a list straight from the event’s website for those interested in the breweries and distilleries featured:
- Outsider Brewing
- AOI BREWING
- Iwate Kura Beer
- Izunokuni Beer
- Gotenba Kogen Beer
- Shigakogen Beer
- Samurai Surfer Beer
- Hansharo Beer
- Beard Beer
- Minami Shinshu
- Minoh Beer
- Yonayona Beer
- Asaka Distillery
- White Oak Distillery
- Shizuoka Distillery
- Chichibu Distillery
- Mars Shinshu Distillery – Tsunuki Distillery
While the event isn’t as large as some others in Japan, i.e. Tokyo Whisky Festival, Tokyo BarShow, it is growing steadily and drawing attention from all over Japan.
The whole concept is to bring the industries of domestic beer and whisky together and strengthen the relationships between producers across the country.
Shizuoka prefecture is quickly growing in terms of quality products and beverages, and this event showcases that fact greatly.
If you ever get the chance to go, don’t miss this wonderful, annual event. Hops and malts do well together, and that’s an indisputable fact!