Craft Beer in Okinawa, Japan
It was a bit of a thrill to just buy a couple bottles of water and take them into an airport, through security, and board a flight. How is THAT possible? Japan. That’s right, the security for domestic travel in Japan is less concerned about the US-pressured security guidelines and is trained to identify what water looks and smells like. It’s called intelligence.
But I was really floored to buy a couple of bottles of local beer and take them on the plane. The Japan Airlines flight attendant even brought me a couple of paper cups so I could share them with my guide who admits to liking beer. We toasted en route to Okinawa for the last leg of my weeklong Okinawa islands trip. We had already gone whale watching in Okinawa, and visited the aquarium there.
Orion (O-REE-on) beer is the bigger brewery of the few down here in southern Japan. It’s a lighter sort of lager but still I still prefer it to the Super Dry variety. I had it with some Okinawa lime as a shandy at one restaurant.
The Orion brewery in Nago offers brewery tours that come highly rated at TripAdvisor.
And then there’s Helios a distillery and craft brewer with a brewpub location. I didn’t get a chance to try them out, but they sound more inventive than the typical brewer. Purple sweet potato beer? I’m curious.
The carry-on brews for the flight were a “pilsner” and a dunkel from Ishigaki Brewing. The name is the same as the island it occupies. They had four that I could find. The dunkel was OK, a bit thin on flavor, but the pilsner was not much different: rather dark and not the crisp sort of profile one would expect. Better to leave pilsner off the label and just go with it.
I had one of their wheat ales at dinner the other night. The whole label is in Japanese so I have little to go on here. It was rather nice with a Japanese barbecue of Ishigaki beef, a very special treat. Also had some beef sashimi with that and it was melt in your mouth awesome. This is apparently where the Kobe beef cattle got their start, if I understood my guide correctly. Anyways, the beef on this island is top notch.
The beer ain’t bad either!