This event used to be called the Osaka International Beer Summit, when it was held annually at the Sky Building in Umeda. But it began a long, slow decline from around 2005, with fewer brewers and beer suppliers showing up. It was last held on a large scale in 2007, and then more or less disappeared.
This year's summit was held in an outdoor sort of park in the middle of Itami city, in Hyogo Prefecture, just over the border from Osaka. The venue was about 100 meters long and quite narrow.
It seemed to be more of a food festival than a beer event. There were many food vendors lining both sides of the area, many of them producing large clouds of smoke from the charcoal braziers for grilled meats. At times, the smoke was quite thick and interfered with the beer experience.
The beers were mostly European ales (especially German and Belgian) and Asian light lagers.
I'd had many of them before and gravitated to those I liked best. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen (bottle) was as tasty and smoky as ever. The Köstritzer Schwarzbier (draught) seemed a bit more watery than usual, not delivering the typical roast malt flavor of a black beer. Chimay's Triple Blanche (draught) was wonderfully fruity and aromatic.
Here are a few others I sampled:
Hofbräu München Hefe Weizen
Fürst Wallerstein Hefe-Weizen
Fürst Wallerstein Landsknecht Dunkel Naturtrüb
De Koninck Tripel
De Koninck Gusto 1833 Ruby Red
De Koninck Gusto 1833 Golden Blond
Achel Extra Bruin (de 3 Wijzen)
Of these, the Achel Extra Bruin was the standout. An abt/quad with a pruney punch.
I had hoped to see more Japanese microbrewers in attendance. The old summit had had so many bottled and draught J-micros to sample. Here, there were only two: one was Minami-Shinshu's Golden Ale and the other.... well, their serving equipment was broken, and so it was not available.
All in all, a pleasant event, with a fair range of brews.