Yuzu-flavored beer offers a taste of Nichinan microbrew

Translated by Aki Sugawara

In recent years microbreweries have spread throughout Japan, thanks in part to the Japanese government easing brewing laws in 1994, with people no longer defaulting to a frosty mug of Asahi on tap.

I heard about a particularly distinct craft beer that's brewed by the shores of Nichinan’s picturesque oceans, which brought me to Nichinan Bakushu. Having only opened last year, it started with a Belgian White, made with wheat, malt from America and hops from the Czech Republic.

Soaked in yuzu rind for a fruity taste

5650082896543744

Usually Belgian Whites are made with coriander seeds or orange peels. But the citrus used here is yuzu from southern Kyushu.

“Around the time the fermentation is complete we let it soak in yuzu rinds for 5 days to a week to add fragrance,” said owner and brewer Akifumi Hashimoto.

Having previously worked at a shochu distillery, Hashimoto saw the emerging craft beer trend and decided to start his own business, thus birthing Nichinan Bakushu.

Inspiration from Ginza’s Hachiban

5178804725088256

At first, Hashimoto didn’t think he could pull off starting a microbrewery on his own.

“I’ve always enjoyed beer, but never loved it. That changed when I had a bottle of Samuel Adams, a lager from Boston. I also liked the idea of supporting your local economy through drinking craft beers,” said Hashimoto. “But I thought to make a beer you needed to be a big corporation with massive factories, and didn’t think it was doable on my own.”

“Then one day I happened to walk into Hachiban in Ginza (a famous Tokyo craft brew bar), and saw they were making beers even with such a cramped space. It was a shock, and I thought that maybe I could do the same. So I started stuyding and researching.”

Thus Nichinan Bakushu was born seven years later.

To obtain a license to make beers, he received training at Iwami Bakushu in Shimane prefecture as well as Shiroyama Brewery in Kagoshima.

The next beer brew--saison?

Having gained traction locally, the brewery is considering its second beer offering.

“I’m thinking saison beer will be next. It’s something Belgian farmers drink when they’re on lunch break in summer, and it’s a brisk, refreshing type of brew,” said Hashimoto.

As someone born in Nichinan, it was important for Hashimoto to name his craft beer after his hometown. Like the Boston lager that left an indelible on him, I left sensing the love in each glass—not just for the citrus brew, but for the city itself.

5646748928180224

Nichinan Bakushu Belgian White

Ingredients: Barley malt, wheat germ, wheat, hops, yuzu peels, coriander seeds

Alcohol percentage: 4.5-5.5%

 

Nichinan Bakushu

Address: 1-1-37 Agatahigashi, Nichinan city, Miyazaki 887-0041

Phone: 050-1485-8425

Photos by JAPAN LOCAL
Special thanks to Nichinan city
Welcome to Nichinan: the town in motion
One social media post, one ton of citrus sold--Nichinan's sweet lemons
When thinking of food that goes viral, you tend to imagine the colurful, lavish or outlandish--like a Unicorn Frappucino. A social media initiative...
120-year-old abandoned school in Japan turns into eclectic marketplace
Drive down south on Route 220 from Miyazaki city, and while traversing next to the glittering Nichinan beaches you’ll encounter (the former) Ushio ...
5 charming points of Nichinan City
We go to all kinds of locales for our work, and sometimes we’re surprised how much more there is to explore—often leaving us with a sense of “we sh...
Take Eat Easy. Diner with local Miyazaki flair
There's a bar in Obi, the heart of Nichinan city in Miyazaki prefecture where people involved in regional and traditional housing revitalization pr...
For the best seafood when traveling, head to the local fish market
In Nichinan city of Miyazaki Prefecture--famous for its pole-caught katsuo (bonito)--there are any number of spots where you can find great seafood...
Eating the best chicken I've ever had at Sumibiyaki Sankuu
The person who showed me around Nichinan (a small city on the coast of Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu) told me two intimidating details about the rest...
Forest bathing, now moss therapy--the lush woods of Inohae
Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku may envision having a hot-tub in the woods, but it's a relatively new concept birthed in Japan in the '80s. Inohae ...
10 popular spots in Japan's "gateway to the tropics"
Once upon a time, Miyazaki Prefecture was a popular honeymoon destination. Beginning in the 1960s, scores of couples made it their place to visit f...
Traditional cooking, Edo-era lodging in a preserved castletown
"Good morning!" said a lively group of grade-school students, even bowing their heads towards me as we walked by. It's an unexpectedly polite gestu...
Hooked on a fisherman’s meal at a bonito angler’s district
Eating bonito isn’t commonplace stateside, except for maybe the flakes used as a garnish. In Japan it’s not uncommon to have the fish seared or raw...
Man drops out of college, now run his own strawberry farm at 25
When thinking of farmers, typically you’d imagine someone older, weathered from long days spent baking in the sun, and with a stiff, salt-and-peppe...
Obi, a castle town where tradition, modernity and art meet
Standing at the batter’s box overlooking the field, I see stone walls of an old feudal-era castle on the other side, along with a historic-looking ...
Udo Jingu, one of three rare descending Shinto shrines
While gazing at the Pacific I walk through a cave, eventually reaching the vivid vermilion shrine. For my wishes to be granted, I throw undama (sto...
Aburatsu hostel doubles as a sports bar, hangout spot
Hostels are typically an option born out of thrift and adventure--a place to connect with like-minded backpackers, and saving on lodgings to maximi...
Budget souvenirs that don't suck at Shibuya's Maruara
Plastic katanas—the Japanese canary in the coal mine for kitsch souvenir shops.For years I’d walk down Inokashira street, one of the arteries of Sh...
Spring Valley Brewery's craft beers and food are fitting for Kyoto, the Old Capital's Kitchen
Kyoto’s Nishiki Market, fondly known as the Old Capital’s kitchen, is a highly popular spot for eating and walking, known for the quality of its fo...
Togatsuke: A sugary taste of Okinawa's old kingdom
It’s difficult for me to choose souvenirs. After all the deliberation about what to get for my family and friends back home, I usually end up defau...
JAPAN LOCAL's guide to Shibuya, Tokyo
On the surface Shibuya is a neon-bathed urban hub, with swarms of high-schoolers and business people flocking to mega department stores, multi-stor...
9 shopping spots to hit while in Shibuya
Shibuya is an overwhelming spectacle from the moment you step out of the station--throngs of tourists, business people and high-schoolers amassing ...
Book Lab Tokyo cafe provides a recharge, refuge from the mayhem at Shibuya scramble
There’s no shortage of shops or cafes in the heart of Shibuya, but one surprisingly difficult commodity to find is a reprieve—a quiet, comfortable ...