Beer Festival and Local Food

I know Ayumi just posted about this, but....

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go a Japanese beer festival in Eye Plaza in downtown Okayama, right next to the big library and the Nishi-gawa.  It was a lot of fun to try different beer from all over Japan. 

Since I arrived here in 2011 I have really noticed an increase in the number of small companies that are making their own beer.  In English we call these companies or people ‘craft brewers,’ and the beer they make is called ‘craft’ beer.

Ove the past 10-15 years in America there has been a huge increase in the number of craft breweries all over the country, especially on the West Coast, in places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Diego.  I went to San Diego over the winter vacation and I was surprised to learn that in San Diego County alone (slightly larger than Okayama Prefecture) there are 92 craft brewing companies.  There are thousands of local craft beers in America.

The beer section of an American supermarket

The beer situation in Japan is very different.  The basic beer (Sapporo, Asahi, Kirin, etc.) is of a much higher quality than American basic beer (Budweiser, Miller, Coors), but there are many fewer kinds of craft beer.

In both countries there are other products that fall into the ‘craft’ category.  In Japan I have noticed that local milk and other dairy products are very popular, for example.  In America we have other local drinks, such as ginger beer (a non-alcoholic drink, similar to ginger ale), and root beer (also non-alcoholic, kind of similar to cola).

However, I have noticed that in Japan there is a big focus on where food is from – “Peaches from Okayama!”, “Sudachi from Tokushima!”, etc.  In America we usually don’t care about where things are from unless they are from the local area.  Some food is famous – in my home state (Maryland), for example, our crabs are very famous – but there isn’t as much of a focus on the source of food as in Japan.

Peaches from Okayama!Sudachi from Tokushima!

Maryland Blue Crab

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