A 50 min train ride and a 17 min walk later we arrive at the Kirin Brewery in Yokohama, Japan! There’s a little exhibit at the back of the lobby where you can learn about the different techniques they use and the science behind the creation of Kirin beer.
The FREE tour starts with an introduction in a theater showcasing the history behind the beer and the dedication behind the process of its evolution. After the short film, a tour guide takes you through the factory with its first stop at the malt and hops.
I swear the picture on the left isn’t what you think it is…but I learned a lot about finding the right kind of malt and hops to flavor the beer we all love and appreciate. The malt tasted just like what a grain of wheat should taste like: mild, dry, and a little nutty. The hops on the other hand slaps you in the face a bit at the very end with bitterness. Although these flowers aren’t the prettiest, they sure had a fragrant, refreshing scent almost like peppermint when you grind them in your hand to smell.
The second, third, and fourth stops are seeing the actual process of making the beer.
The top left picture shows these large barrel type machines, which is where the magic happens. This is where the water, malt, hops, and yeast become beer. As most of you probably know, the sugar is extracted from the grains and the yeast turns that sugar into alcohol. After that happens, it’s filtered so only the alcohol is left. This is called the first press, which is what they use for the premium beer, thus a stronger flavor. Then, they rinse the filtered grains with water and this is called the second press, which is like a watered down version of the first press (kind of like a Budlight consistency). Next, they mix in the hops for flavor. And finally, is filtered so only the liquid gold is left. The other two pictures map out the rest of the factory where the beer is put into the cans.
And finally, the pièce de résistance…the moment we all waited for…a FREE beer tasting.
They offer three types of beer at the counter: original brew, premium beer, and 100% malt beer. My absolute favorite was the premium beer. It had the most refreshing and strongest flavor of the three. You only have 20 minutes for the tasting but they offer 12-ounce glasses my friends…or you have the option for the 4-ounce (I think it was 4) if you don’t want to get tipsy.
Of course, I had a 12-ounce for two of the three beers and it was amaaazing. The Kirin Brewery in Yokohama is a must-see if you ever visit Japan. They offer English speaking guides on certain days/times so please schedule accordingly but since I happened to go on a day where an English guide wasn’t available, they accommodated me with a hard copy of the tour in English as they spoke Japanese. It was still a fun, fascinating, delicious tour and I would go again any day.
A hui hou ❤