A few years ago, I went to the large Kinokuniya bookstore in Umeda to see what sorts of books they had on Japanese beer. After some time searching among the many works on sake, whiskey, wine, shochu, and cocktails, I managed to find only one slim volume about beer.
There are now a number of books written about Japanese craft beer, but until recently none in English. That changed last month with the publication of Mark Meli's Craft Beer in Japan: The Essential Guide. Mark spent five years traveling the length of the archipelago, visiting breweries and pubs, talking with brewers and fellow beer geeks, and, yes, sampling all the brews that came his way. (Full disclosure: I've known Mark for several years and I'm proud to have joined him many a time in his arduous and bibulous research work.)
The book is packed with information on Japanese craft breweries, brewpubs, bars, bottle shops, and beer festivals. In addition, it has several essays on the development of beer culture in Japan. It's no exaggeration to say that he probably knows the craft beer scene in Japan better than anyone.
The book is now available in a Kindle version through Amazon.com. Paper editions are currently sold through the Japan Beer Times website.
Several book-signing parties are in the works. You'll be able to meet Mark and purchase the book on site. The first of these will take place at Tadg's in Kyoto on September 18. Tokyo and Yokohama (and possibly other locations) will likely follow soon.