Last month we visited the a Kirin Beer factory called Kirin Beer Park Okayama. They offer free tours with a free beer tasting at the end. That’s right- FREE.
To get here from Okayama Station, take the JR Sanyo line to Mantomi Station. It’s about 25 minutes away and costs 320 yen.
The factory is about a 10 minute walk from the JR Mantomi Station. But if that’s too far of a walk for you, there are shuttle buses that will drive you straight to the factory’s front door. And that’s free too.
The tour is about 1 hour long. It’s given in Japanese but if you let them know, they will give you a small pamphlet that explains everything in English. They recommend making a reservation in advance. You can do that online or by calling their number.
The tour started off with an introduction video (in Japanese), then we were taken on a tour of the brewing area where we got to sample hops. We learned that the reason they are called Kirin Ichiban (meaning #1) is because they use a single wort brewing process. “Wort” is the liquid that has all the sugars that will be fermented later to produce alcohol.
Most other beers use the first and second wort.We got to sample the difference between first and second worts and the first wort is very, very sweet.
At the end of the tour, we were taken to a cafeteria like area where we had about 1 hours to sample 3 different beers. There are also non-alcoholic drinks available for kids or your designated driver.
It wouldn’t be Japan if without omiyage. In the gift shop, I found some delicious chocolates with a beer jelly filling. Each chocolate was wrapped to look like a small beer can. So cute!
Make sure you take the train. The staff will ask you how you arrived and if you’re the driver, they will give you a pass that says you’re not allowed alcohol. Besides, they make it too convenient to get there without a car. Be safe friends!
If you live in the area, I highly recommend checking it out with your friends. Who doesn’t love free beer?
Today is Hakada Matsuri or the Naked Man Festival. They day where hundreds of men wear practically nothing in the freezing cold and fight for a rod that is said to bring a year of luck. This should be interesting. If you’re in the area, come join in on the fun!