Thursday, May 10, 2012

Japanese Breweries at the 2012 World Beer Cup

The 9th bi-annual World Beer Cup ended last Saturday (May 5) in San Diego. It was the largest competition ever held, with a total of 3,921 beers entered by 799 breweries from 54 nations and 45 U.S. states. The judges awarded 284 prizes in 95 categories. Whew! A lot of numbers and a lotta beers.

The largest category, and the one with the largest growth over the previous event, was American-Style India Pale Ale (with 150 entries), followed by Imperial India Pale Ale (with 93). The smallest was German-Style Sour Ale with only 11 beers entered.

Twenty-one Japanese brewers participated, bringing a total of 96 beers to the competition. They were the following: AJI (Minoh), Aqula, Asahi, Baird, Chateau Kamiya, Coedo, Fujizakura Kogen, Ise Kadoya, Kinshachi, Kiuchi, Konishi, Kumazawa, Moku-Moku, Nanto, Rokko, Sankt Gallen, Swan Lake, Tamamura Honten (Shiga Kogen), Warabiza, Yo-Ho, and Yokohama.

And how did they fare? Four breweries were awarded medals:
Gold: Minoh Beer Yuzu White Ale (Fruit Wheat Beer)
Gold: Fujizakura Kogen Beer Rauch (Smoke Beer)
Silver: Swan Lake Beer Amber Swan Ale (American-Style Amber/Red Ale)
Bronze: Kumazawa Chocolate Porter (Robust Porter)

Over the years, Hitachino Nest has been a standout brewer in this competition, with six medals, as has Nasu Kohgen, with a total of five. Swan Lake Beer’s Amber Swan Ale has won three times, and their Porter has picked up four medals. Fujizakura’s sublime Rauch and Rauch Bock have been awarded bronze and silver medals in the past, and this year the Rauch took the gold medal in the Smoke Beer category. Yet perhaps no brewery has done better than Baird Brewing did in 2010, with three gold medals in three diverse categories. 

Congratulations to all the brewers. Look for those award-winning brews at your favorite craft beer bar.


  1. Thank you for the information; I will try and go to Minoh. Have you seen this: ?

  2. Alexis,

    Try the Craft Beer Live in Namba on May 26th.
    Minoh Beer will be there.