As most beer-drinkers in Japan know, there’s beer and then there’s real beer. Mark Meli’s “Craft Beer in Japan” makes this distinction in the very first sentence, before setting out, in a little over 200 pages, to comprehensively look at Japan’s craft beer industry.
Highlights include Meli’s very helpful best-of lists for beginners looking for somewhere to start, as well as his collection of essays, which dive into such things as domestic craft beer’s ties to cultural identity, economics and language.
If there’s anywhere the book perhaps falls a little, er, flat, it’s the photographs used to illustrate some of the 104 Japanese craft breweries Meli appears to have personally visited. Still, that’s being a bit harsh for a guidebook that offers you pretty much everything you need to know about craft beer in Japan.