Akita City’s Craft Beer Festival
Undoubtedly, some of the best sake in Japan comes from Akita Prefecture; this is one of the top reasons why travelers make the trip to this corner of the Tohoku region. But when you dig deeper into the area’s traditions you realize that sake is not the only beverage popular in the prefecture. There’s a strong craft beer culture, especially in its capital, Akita City. As proof, visitors from near and far can enjoy a good tasting of high quality brews at the Craft Beer Festival in Akita City.
For the last 8 years, the festival which is held on a weekend in late August gathers some of best craft beer brewers not only from Akita but also from around Japan. Held at the roofed “shotengai” (shopping street) just outside Akita JR Station’s west exit and at the the Agora Square, the “Beer Fes” as it is also known is accessible for free.
The idea of course is to taste the different styles of brews on hand, but if you happen to be the designated driver or simply not up for a pint early in the day you can also enjoy the lively atmosphere along with bbq food such as mitanemaki, a skewered oversized mushroom served by the staff of Koyume Izakaya. If you walk around the festival you are also sure to bump into a grilled seafood stand and of course, the good old german sausage which pair perfectly with the unique craft beers on sale.
To get your hands on a refreshing pint of beer you can purchase advance tickets at a Family Mart convenience stores or on the day of the festival at the ticket tent. The advance tickets give you the option to pay 1,500 yen for four 200ml glasses (all served in the official glass of the Beer Fest), or 1,200 yen for four 200ml glasses served in plastic cups. Same-day tickets are slightly higher at 1,500 yen for four servings. There are 250 commemorative glasses available on a first come first served basis on the day and they will sure go quickly so plan accordingly. Whatever option you choose, you’ll be set to try a great variety of flavours and styles of beer from over 40 different breweries from Hokkaido all the way down to Okinawa.
The Craft Beer Festival in Akita goes from 12pm to 8pm on Saturday and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday. If after the tents have shut down you still craving an extra pint or simply want to continue the party with new found friends, you can walk over to Beer Flight, a local pub known for its selection of craft beer and for the good vibe carried on until midnight. Beer Flight is a 20-min walk from the Festival and is great place to wind down.
And if you happen to miss this summer beer festival, no worries, the hoppy spirit of Akita lives on beyond the summer and can be experienced at Akita City’s own Oktoberfest held from October 12th to October 15th (2017) and including a selection of local and german craft beer brands.