I’ve never heard anyone say that they want to visit Japan for the beer. Totally understandable. While the brews from Japan’s big three breweries – Sapporo, Asahi, and Kirin – stand head and foam above the likes of Budweiser and (for most) Heineken, those who are used to a steady diet of microbrews and Guinness have never had reason to rush to the bars of Japan.
Locally-brewed craft beer is steadily making its way into the hearts and stomachs of the beer-loving Japanese masses. Matsumoto is doing her proud part by serving up the sweet nectar of not one but two craft beer producers. This past week I visited one of them – the Bacca Brewery, over on the west side of the station.
Fukasawa-san, the Brew Master of Bacca, used to have a regular job. But a stint overseas led him to quit his company and chase his newfound dream of dishing out the best beer around.
The Bacca Brewery has all the makings of a great local joint. It’s comfortably intimate. The vibe is a mix of classy and casual. And yeah, the beer.
The names Fukasawa-san gives his brews add to the local flavor. His Jonen IPA, GenDarme Stout, and Yari Double Dry Hop (DDH) are all named after mountains that stand over the western Matsumoto skyline.
But the real flavor comes from those shiny silver tanks behind the glass in the back, and the row of taps that Fukasawa-san and his wife keep flowing each evening Wednesday through Sunday.
Sure, you could save a few hundred yen and settle for one of Japan’s more commonplace beers. But for some truly special suds, head for the west side and the green awning of the Bacca Brewery.
You can even get one for the road.
Life is short. Live well.
The Bacca Brewery is mere minutes on foot from the west entrance of Matsumoto Station. Check their website for the latest on when they’ll be serving up their version of liquid heaven.