Echigo is arguably the best of the rice lager category, so it comes as no suprise that it highly sought after! It's also Japan's original micro-brew.
Craft beer was born in Japan in 1994, when the Liquor Tax Law was amended to significantly lower the minimum production volume required to obtain a beer manufacturing license, allowing small and medium-sized brewers to produce beer. At that time, Echigo Beer was one step ahead of the rest of the country in opening a brewpub and brewing the first domestic craft beer in Japan.
The brewery is located in Niigata prefecture, which is the number one rice growing prefecture in Japan and home to the famous Koshihikari rice, a short grain rice regarded as the best quality and flavor in all of Japan. The brewery has high standards when selecting the Koshihikari rice to assure the superb flavor outcome of their flagship rice lager.
Echigo Koshihikari Beer is a rice style lager with a pale golden color that comes out of the bottle, and a strong head that quickly fades. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavour, but it is not too overpowering. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the premium Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.
This beer from the very pioneers of Japanese craft beer is definitely worth a try!