As you know Albannach stocks fantastic craft beer from Scotland , but we are not beer snobs and enjoy all kinds of craft beer and what better way to sample a wide array of craft beer than attending the annual Niigata craft beer festival !. Now in its 6th year the festival has grown from small beginnings to a big festival showcasing Japanese craft breweries plus a few imported craft beers as well. We decided to open Albannach from 6pm so we could both attend the festival that starts at 11am and goes through to 9pm . As we live on Furumachi street it was really only a 5 min walk for us to get to the venue which was two blocks of the covered Furumachi mall. I ended up being 1st in line to redeem my ticket, collect my 200 ml glass mug which was a lot better than joining the huge line that form behind me really quickly prior to 11am
I tried to take photos of the different beers that I tried and the friends I met throughout the day. With 26 breweries offering anywhere between 4 - 7 different beers on tap it was a hard job deciding what to try. One of the standouts for me was the Swan lake brewery - Agano Saison which was fantastic and the only beer I tried twice.
Another local brewery Echigo which was the very first craft brewery to open in Japan many years ago have a new IPA which was also very good. I meet up with my good friend Kazu & his wife Tomoko who both work for the brewery and enjoyed chatting about their new product.
My wife Tamaki cooked some food , as you can take your own food to the festival plus buy what is on offer as well which is great. Niigata often has rain at this time of the year so we are lucky to have the covered mall for such events. I had hoped to see more Belgian style beers or barrel aged beers , but barrel aging is still quite new in Japan compared to other countries. I heard last night that 5000 people attended the festival on Sat and it is also being held today as well although it finishes earlier. If we had time I would love to attend more beer festivals in Japan but with this one just around the corner from Albannach it the only one we get to every year. I would like to say a big thanks to the organizers as it is a lot of work to put together such a large festival but great for promoting craft beer in general to the Niigata public. Below is a slide show taken yesterday .