As we showed you recently with seasonal sweets and snacks, you don’t need to venture into the wilds of nature to know what season we are in. Snacks are all very well, though but there’s something that I just have to had every day… beer! And this of course got us thinking about seasonal beers in Japan.
(For the purposes of this article, we’re including happoushu and so-called “third beer” [dai-san biiru]. Apologies to purists in advance!)
Like with snacks, spring in Japan is all about the cherry blossom and everything turns pink for the season. Cherry blossom means hanami, and hanami means… beer. Even if the weather is still a bit chilly, nothing will stop the Japanese from sitting beneath a cherry blossom tree and enjoying some drinks.
Kirin Beer: Kirin Lager Beer Hanami Cherry Blossom Can
Orion Beer 2014 Limited Edition Brews: Ichiban Sakura (Cherry Blossom Number One)
Sankt Gallen Sakura
Summer is the season when beers go crazy, since nothing tastes better on a hot day than a refreshing sud. And given how humid the Japanese dog days can get, a big mug of beer is an essential survival item. The year’s beer consumption levels literally hinge on how hot the summer was.
Kirin Beer: Ice + Beer
Sapporo Beer: Niigata Pils Fuumi Soukai-ni Shite (Summer Can Design)
Sapporo Beer: Ice Lager 7
If chilled beers are indispensable for the summer, then with autumnal suds it’s more about the taste itself. This means that breweries in Japan release the most kinds of seasonal beers in autumn, so there are more varieties of tastes to enjoy than at any other time during the year.
Kirin Beer: Akiaji (Autumn Taste)
Asahi Beer: Akiyoi
Winter is traditionally a time for partaking of Japanese Sake or Nihonshu, but more often than not, the first drink of the evening is still a beer. Perhaps because it’s a cold time of year and people don’t buy so much beer, but recently there have been some seasonal special beers coming out in the winter too.
Sapporo Beer: Fuyu Monogatari (The Winter’s Tale)
Kirin Beer: Ichiban Shibori Toretate Hops Draft Beer
Sapporo Beer: Sapporo Draft Black Label Hokkaido Winter Matsuri