There is beer and there is happoshu
When you go to the convenience store or supermarket in Japan you are presented with a wealth of different types of beer, but beware some are not what they seem.
As a rule of thumb if you want to make sure you’re buying real beer it should cost around 200 yen per 350ml can, if you’re looking at a can that’s around 140 yen, it’s happoshu!
To put it simply happoshu is a low malt or malt free alcoholic drink that falls into a different tax classification to beer as it lacks what makes beer, beer!
Happoshu has 25% or less malt content and some has no malt at all. Instead of using malt the flavour comes from malt substitutes and other nasty chemicals that are more likely to give you an awful hang over.
You are likely to get served happoshu at a budget restaurant or karaoke rooms that do all you can drink deals.
Still want to know more about Happoshu? Take a look at this Wikipedia page.
Japanese beer is great and possibly some of the best in the world, you will normally find the beer along side international brands that you know such as Heineken and Budweiser as well as the Japanese brands that are sold overseas.
If you want to be sure you’re drinking beer try and remember these essential survival phrases:
Is this happoshu? = Kore wa happoshu desu ka
Is this beer? = Kore wa biru desu ka
If the answer is “hai” (yes) to either of these questions you know what you have got.
I don’t want to drink happoshu = Happoshu nomitakunai desk
All this said many people enjoy a few cans of happoshu in the evening and the big drinks companies sell a lot of it.
Why try one night on beer and one night on happoshu, then tell us how you felt the morning after?
Always drink responsibly…