The weather is warming up, and so is the beer season in western Japan (or, as they say in "Spinal Tap," in "the world and elsewhere." Here's a quick rundown of beer events where you can find out what the nation's brewers have been up to.
Kyoto Craft Beer Festival / 地ビール祭京都 5/11
Now in it's fourth year, this has grown into a very pleasant festival. Centered in a small children's park, it stretches for 100 meters or so along a quaint Kyoto shopping arcade. You can stroll from booth to booth, pop into a restaurant for a meal, and do some shopping if you like.
大阪・CRAFT BEER LIVE 2013 in なんば -- 5/25 ~ 5/26
This festival focuses on Kansai (or western Japan) area breweries.
Belgian Beer Weekend - Osaka / ベルギービールウィークエンド大阪 6/05 ~ 6/09
A large event, featuring a variety of high-octane brews from the little country that could, can, and has been brewing great beers in myriad styles for about 1,000 years.
Tanabata Beer Festa Toyama 2013 / 富山・タナバタビアフェスティバル・トヤマ -- 7/05~7/07
Very much a local festival, but it attracts beer lovers from far and wide.
Great Japan Beer Festival - Osaka / BeerFes大阪 7/13~7/15
The big one, which has always had the potential to be a great one. High-priced, small pours, but probably the widest variety of any event.