Golden Garden’s Takashi Fukumoto not only set the foundations of the local craft beer pub scene, but he is also the host of the region’s largest microbrew event, the awkwardly named Microbrewery Beer Festa in Hiroshima (it sounds better in Japanese). Since 2008, when his first microbrew fest in Hiroshima featured ten brewers and about four hundred attendees, Fukumoto has moved his event to take over the former Carp Stadium grounds across from the Atomic Bomb Dome for a weekend every April.
Last year there were twenty five breweries represented and dozens of different food vendors, and it was attended by approximately 23,000 folks. The line up this year is impressive with Osaka’s Minoh, Hokkaido’s North Island Beer, Shimane’s Matsue Beer Herun, Tochigi’s Ushitora Brewery, as well as another twenty or so of Japan’s best breweries bringing their best beers. Combined with food that is generally much better than the fare usually found at festivals, the live music, the talks and presentations by brewmasters, it’s an event that should not be missed by any real beer lovers.
Even though some of the major Japanese brewers have recently ventured into craft beers, Fukumoto says don’t expect to see any of them at the festival anytime soon, as he has seen from experience with the food vendors, most Japanese people tend to go to the vendors that are best known. He feels that most Japanese people will go to what they are most familiar with, and he’d prefer that they try new things. His aim is to get Japanese drinkers to understand that there are as many flavors of beer as there are wines, cheeses, or sake; and that they can choose different beers for different moods, seasons, and foods.
The festival runs the weekend of April 16th and 17th this year and tickets can be purchased in advance at Golden Garden, Raku, Hangout, Phi’s, and Kimura Liquorland as well as at ticket agents and online. More details here.