Snapshots of Japan | American Craft Beer at Yokohama’s Antenna America

The advantage of meeting up with friends in Japan is that they can guide us to the best places for food and drink, none more so than food and drink journalist Robb Satterwhite, also the founder of Animal Cafes, Bento.com (restaurant guide), Craft Beer Bars Japan, and Where in Tokyo.

Although we’re usually keen to seek out bars specialising in Japanese beers, when Robb told us about Antenna America we agreed it was a must-visit, given his and Pete’s shared love of beer. Specialising in American craft beers, the shop and bar is run by beer importer Nagano Trading and offers a huge range of beers, including bottles and tap. And the prices are crazy reasonable, all sold at retail prices, whether you buy to drink there or to take away.

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Like many bars and restaurants in Japan, it’s located in an office building, up on the 5th floor in this case. Easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. There’s an outdoor terrace for when the weather is good, and a few tables and stools in the main bar. A menu of snacks is available, plus a range of merchandise including T-shirts, pens, pins plus merchandise from some of the breweries they sell.

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I think it’s fair to say that the American craft beer movement over the last few decades has hugely influenced and inspired brewers in Japan (and the UK for that matter), and certainly there’s a huge love for American craft beer in Tokyo (and elsewhere in Japan).

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I usually advocate seeking out local food and drink, including locally-made beers. Indeed, for dinner the previous night we enjoyed some local brews alongside delicious cooking at Charcoal Grill Green Bashamichi, another of Robb’s recommendations.

But with a whole month in Japan, we were really pleased to be able to enjoy some unfamiliar American beers in this fabulous little shop and bar. And the good news is that there are several other great bars and taprooms in the vicinity; definitely worth planning in a bit of a beer crawl for our next visit!

Antenna America, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Yoshidamachi 5-4, #6 Yoshida Bldg, 5F

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53 Comments to "Snapshots of Japan | American Craft Beer at Yokohama’s Antenna America"

  1. Jemma

    A month in Japan must have been the most incredible experience. Robb sounds like the right person to have on hand for food and drink recommendations. All those beers look great!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    It was lovely to have a bit longer, though I’d happily have stayed another month!!

    Reply
  2. Lisanne

    So cool! Love Japan so much, we had an amazing time there. Unfortunately we missed this little shop and bar!

    Reply
  3. Helen

    I got extremely excited when I found Zima (a US ‘clear malt beverage’ that makes most Americans recoil in horror) in Japan after it had been discontinued in the US. Did they serve the beer with a huge froth which also seems to be a Japan thing? There’s a machine at Tokyo airport that pours beer and even that is 40% froth!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I think that big froth is mostly for lager style beers, at this craft bar they knew their beer and served it appropriately! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Aireona

    Interestingly, I did not drink much when I was in Japan. I am more of a sweet drink person, to the point that I even mix my wine with soda. That being said, I am sure that this was a great experience. I do love wine tastings, even if I can’t down a whole glass myself. And most food in Japan is out of this world!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I don’t drink much myself but my husband Pete (who writes petedrinks.com) enjoys his beer immensely, as does our friend Robb (who we met on our first trip to Japan some years back). Like you, I looove umeshu and also sake too.

    Reply
  5. Lola

    Did they have Boulevard Wheat from Kansas City? Had no idea there was a beer scene in Japan! So cool, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Gosh there were so many beers, I’m afraid I can’t recall what they had, I don’t think I even looked through the entire list!

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  6. kaveyeats

    Thanks, yes there certainly are. Until relatively recently, most were churning out variations of lager, but today there are many new and micro breweries producing a much wider range of styles.

    Reply
  7. Steph & Zach Dorworth

    We love going to microbreweries here in the states! So whenever we travel we seek out places to try new beers. Had never heard of this place so it’s good to know you liked it!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    We do too, my husband is not only a beer lover, he brews his own too, so it’s definitely something we incorporate into our trips!

    Reply
  8. Kay

    Sounds like you got some true expert advice 🙂 The brewery culture is one I really enjoy. I will definitely need to try this place next time I am in Japan!

    Reply
  9. Indrani

    I am not a beer person but then with one month to stay there I will surely explore beer and every other thing possible. 🙂 Yet to strike off Japan from my list. 🙁

    Reply
  10. Lucy Parissi

    I so want to visit Japan… with my fear of flying it is going to be one of those bucket list items that might need to wait till they can beam me up there. Love love craft beers and it looks like an amazing selection.

    Reply
  11. Anna

    What a cute little place! I love all the quirky little bars and cafes you can find in Tokyo, they’re always so special 🙂

    Reply
  12. Janice

    ooh what a choice, how great to have friends who can take you to the best places. So funny that you went all the way to Japan to drink American beer.

    Reply
  13. amit

    Ahh you’ve made me jealous, I can’t wait to get over to Japan, it’s so high on my list. being a beer drinker myself, and there are a few Japanese beers that I like, it’s good to know there is a choice of American craft beers to chose from too.

    Reply
  14. Diana

    It’s great that you actually have friends in Japan. When you travel somewhere and you have friends that live in that city, they can show it to you in a different way. Japan is on my list of countries that I really want to visit!

    Reply
  15. Jim

    One thing I’ve learned from traveling to Japan – they are absolutely crazy about their beer! It’s great to see that the craft beer movement in the US has been embraced by the Japanese. I’m sure this is also a great place to tag up with American expats when you need that little taste of home.

    Reply
  16. sherianne

    I hadn’t considered that the movement toward craft breweries would influence other cultures but it makes sense, sounds like a fun evening

    Reply
  17. Meagan

    A month in Japan?! Jealousssss (in a very supportive way, of course) hahah Luke would love a place like this, as he’s quite the craft beer fan. I didn’t realize, though, that so many Japanese bars are located in office buildings, or that the American craft brew scene had had such an effect on some of our distant neighbors – both things are really cool to know! 🙂

    Reply
  18. Holly

    I would actually be interested in trying their craft beer even thought I am not even into beer. It does take good in Europe so now I am curious.

    Reply
  19. divyakshi

    I don’t drink but I am definitely fascinated by their display! That is like a grand display of different varieties of beer. I’d love to take a tour because to be honest I never knew Japan specialised in this! One whole month in Japan sounds amazing! It is one country that definitely excels in so many areas! 🙂

    Reply
  20. Claire

    It really makes a difference having someone who knows the area really well – so you don’t miss gems like this! I didn’t try any craft beer when I was in Japan, I was usually drinking the uber sweet plum wine! Sometimes it’s nice to get a taste from home though 🙂

    Reply
  21. Suruchi

    One month in Japan. Woo! That is going to be real fun. We both are beer lovers and love exploring the local microbreweries. You are absolutely right, locals only know the hidden gems, so its best to hang out with them.

    Reply
  22. Sandy N Vyjay

    Having American crafted Beer in Japan must have been quite a change and a nice experience. I did not know that Japan was a big market for American Crafted Beer apart from the UK. The place seems cosy and a great place to chill with a beer and probably interact with the locals.

    Reply
  23. Kirstie

    Japan can really surprise you. It remains my favorite city in the world. How is it possible to have so much American Crafted Beer in one place IN ASIA?! Well, that is Japan for you! 😀

    Reply
  24. Kim

    I just got back from a month in Japan and miss it so much! I wish I came across a place like Antenna America while I was there, what a great craft beer selection. Where else are you going in Japan?

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    This was last year, and we had a month to play with. It was our third trip, so we revisited Tokyo and Kyoto, plus we also went to Hakone, Hikone, Kanazawa, the Noto Peninsula, Karuizawa and Nikko.

    Reply
  25. Jitaditya

    That’s something really new.I was expecting a sake brewery in Japan, if such a thing exists at all. But it seems beer has gone really global. Even in India micro breweries are coming up nowadays and it is always a great experience.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    They sure do, I’ve visited some, but haven’t posted about them actually. And there are bars that specialise in sake, some that specialise in whisky and the ones that specialise in beer, plus regular old bars that offer the full range…

    Reply
  26. Jennifer Melroy

    I always order the bartender’s favorite local (non-IPA) beer. It is such a great way to get a feel for the local beer scene and I really enjoy seeing what surprises the bartender will pull out. I love that the craft beer market is expanding overseas as well as in the USA. There are so many great beers to try from around the world now.

    Reply
  27. Koen

    Superb post. I’m also a travel and craft beer blogger, so great to read upon the hidden gems in Japan.
    Japan is very high on our travel list, so we also would love to find some nice craft beer bars while on the way. Thanks ! ²

    Reply
  28. Cliodhna Ryan

    Sometimes you get the best of food and drink from one country in a completely different country! I would love to visit Japan. It seems like it has everything!

    Reply
  29. neha

    Japan is amazing. I haven’t been there and I don’t drink. But I can say from your experience this place must be a delight for those who do.

    Reply
  30. Sreeram

    Japan seems to be more and more fascinating. As a beer lover, Antenna America would be a paradisal place for me to visit.

    Reply
  31. kaveyeats

    I suspect there are many good bars that do serve both and could help with this. This one is an importer’s retail outlet so only has American.

    Reply
  32. Sindhu

    Japan is definitely incredible and having a local friend or guide is half the problem solved to find interesting hangouts. As per beer, I can’t comment much as I don’t drink. But what I love is the name Antenna America. I wonder what the owner was thinking when choosing the name 🙂

    Reply
  33. Jenn

    It’s true that when you spend a lot of time in one country, especially that’s so different from America, you start to crave the stuff from home. Will definitely consider going on a beer crawl if I visit Japan. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  34. Ami

    A month long stay does get you to start craving for some home food or familiarity. this place must have been a heaven for you when you found it. Glad you did. Cheers to you guys

    Reply

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