The Kirin Brewery in Yokohama made it into my top six “Favorite Brewery Tours.”
Also in the top six are: Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL), Magic Hat Brewing (Burlington, VT), Lagunitas Brewing (Chicago, IL), Heineken (Amsterdam) and Miller Brewing (Milwaukee, WI).
The tour was free, lasted 80 minutes, and had three free tastings at the end! The staff was friendly and the tour was animated with automation. I can’t wait to go back!
Sonia and I took the train to Yokohama and then switched to a local line. From there we walked to the Brewery.
The area was very industrial and gave us the feeling we were in the wrong place. Until we saw this sign.
Yay! We are on the right track and only 200 meters away! Walking up to the entrance, we were greeted by a security guard.
He showed us to the reception area. We arrived at 11:10 am. The receptionist asked if we had reservations for the tour. No, we don’t. That is ok, she said. The next tour is at 11:20. Would you like to go? Yes, please! We were given buttons to wear and an English lamented guide to help us understand the tour because it was all in Japanese. Our tour guide came and introduced herself to us! Talk about feeling like a royal! The first part of the laminated booklet included the rules.
At the beginning of the tour, we watched a short movie. Please notice all the kids who were part of our tour! It’s important to teach the youth to appreciate beer.
As we moved along the tour route, we stopped for a tourist pose and to snap kawaii pictures.
After the movie, we moved to a room where we could play with the malt and hops. Tables of different sizes were set up for participants to taste and smell the ingredients.
My favorite quote was on the ingredients page. “All the ingredients of beer are gifts from nature.”
We left the ingredients room and were taken to see where the mashing occurred. Another video and light show was used to show the purpose of each tank.
From here, we were able to taste the wort. The kids were so excited! They were cracking us up!
I would describe the wort as tasting like raisin bran water. Like if you put water on your raisin bran instead of milk and then drank it when you finished the cereal. Sweet and branny.
After tasting the wort, we had another interactive exhibit to understand the fermentation process. These cute little cartoons were projected onto a table. A true love story. Yeast eats sugar releasing alcohol and carbon dioxide. Voilà – Wort becomes beer.
Check this out! We passed by a classroom that can be reserved and you can make your own beer! They will store it for you and ship it to you when it is ready. For a small fee, of course!
The final part before tasting is the packaging. The beer we have been learning about is now packaged into Kirin Beer cans.
Japanese happiness is shared throughout the world as Kirin is shipped globally! Locally, we enjoyed the final stop on the tour in the tasting room.
After our tasting, we were ready for lunch. We stopped at the Spring Valley Brewery restaurant on the grounds of the factory.
We split a flat bread salad and yogurt fried chicken. It was delicious!
As we were leaving, we couldn’t resist a few shots lifting the (empty) pony kegs.
It was a fun day! I am more than willing to add this to the Julia tour when you visit. I mean – free beer!!