The MBCT is the event of all events for the craft beer scene in Japan this year. The recent 20th edition of the Keyaki Beer Festival with their unique brews was just to get you a little thirstier for what the MBCT is offering. The MBCT is the party that you will be surely bragging to your coworkers about on Tuesday morning; it’s like getting the secret password from a friend to enter the Playboy Mansion. This event is about drinking the rarest and the most unique beers you can get your hands on in Tokyo from around the world.
Taihei was still skeptical about whether the MBCT would be the party of the year or not, because this is the first time the event is being held. It will be held at the Meiji Jingu Gaien Softball Grounds. What this event will feature 320 brews from 40 breweries on tap and a bottle shop will be run by Titans so you can take some of the spoils home with you.. The Hef himself, not Hugh Hefner, but Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the founder of Mikkeller and creator of this event, will be giving these breweries a good time leading up to the event. So, he is going to get them excited to meet you on Sept 23 and 24.
However, Taihei was still skeptical, so we contacted each brewery for this event to hear what they have to say about it. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø wasn’t contacted because this event is like going to the Playboy Mansion, so you are not going to waste your time talking to Hugh Hefner or Fred Durst when there’s the Playmate of the Year next to you. Here are the responses from the breweries that replied to our email with a short playmate bio:
*We reached out to all of the breweries attending the MBCT and those that got back to us are featured below.
Mikkel’s Playmates of 2018
“LET IT BE KNOWN that Boneyard Beer is thrilled to be a part of the inaugural MBCT! [We are] looking forward to pouring Hop Venom IIPA; Notorious IPA3; Rum Barrel Aged Suge Knite; and many more Boneyard specialties in Tokyo later this month.”
|Drinkoscope||“Balance, hoppy beers”|
|Background||Boneyard Beer got its name by piecing together equipment from 13 different breweries and soon they will expand their operations to produce 45,000 barrels per year. They have replaced their Frankenstein brewing system with something shinier, but they still use their original system.|
“Garage Project is an independent New Zealand brewery based in Aro Valley, Wellington. GP’s aim is to create unique and beautiful beers, to push boundaries, reinterpret styles and challenge the notions of what beer can be. To date we have created over 300 different beers, and counting.
We are beyond excited about bringing our beer to Japan, an area that has often been on our minds but somewhere we haven’t often been able to supply to because of limited stock. The menu is a collection of our fan-favourite festival beers which always seem to sell out extremely fast. Try something new!”
|Birthplace||Wellington, New Zealand|
|Drinkoscope||“Blurring the boundaries between styles – seeing what works.”|
|Background||This brewery really started in a garage with three mates and it was a nano brewery that was built over the years. They continue to push the limits of what a style is and still expanding year by year.|
“Good wine is made in the Orchard” and “the pursuit of the ultimate cherry wine” are key concepts for Frederiksdal Kirsebærvin. No one has ever fermented cherries like this, no one has been chasing the genetic best cherry in terms of taste for wine production, and no one has built a winery combining techniques from Bordeaux, Banyules, and Burgundy with wine ageing in Cognac, Port, red wine and Grand Marnier barriques. Everything is put into play on the quest for a taste in the wine that when enjoyed gives the feeling of angel wings. Ageing and maturation gives very different taste in the 7 different types of wine which are beyond comparison.”
– Frederiksdal Kirsebærvin
|Drinkoscope||Selling Stevnsbær cherries to juice companies then become a winery by faith.|
|Background||One man with the cherries and two men with the knowledge of wine making. It took them years to create a sour cheery wine and they know the importance of speed to produce a quality produce.|
“Cigar City Brewing is thrilled to finally serve our award-winning craft beers to the Japanese market! Mikkeller’s team puts on some of the finest beer festivals in the world and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this event and a part of the growing Japanese craft beer scene.”
-Cigar City Brewing
|Brewery||Cigar City Brewing|
|Drinkoscope||Innovative ales and lagers.|
|Background||A brewery that started with only 1,000 barrels in 2016 that reached 65,000 barrels today. They believe in top-notch ingredients for each brew they produce, which explains why they grew so quickly.|
“We are delighted for Cloudwater Brew Co. to be part of the first ever Mikkeller Beer Celebration Tokyo! This is the first festival we have ever attended in Japan, and it is an incredible honour to be part of the fantastic line-up at MBCT. We are thrilled to share the beer we brew for drinkers in Japan to enjoy, and look forward to meeting and sharing a drink with you all during the festival!”
-Cloudwater Brew Co.
|Brewery||Cloudwater Brew Co.|
|Drinkoscope||“Specialise in modern, seasonal beer.”|
|Background||Paul, the Co-founder of Cloudwater Brew Co, attended the Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen and wanted to be part of the Manchester brew scene. The ideology of this company is the changing seasons and they have taken that influence into their beer.|
“Hi. We’re Phantom Spirits. We are a council established to disrupt the new world spirits order by infiltrating the purveyors of injustice by the way of the shadow. We specialize in the age-old method of cask finish and have paved the way with our Beer Cask Series, making singular cask finish rum on extremely limited barrels, such as Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake and Omnipollo/Dugges Anagram Blueberry Cheesecake Stout. We are overly excited to step out from the shadows and into the sun to share our story and our rum at Mikkeller Beer Celebration Tokyo in magical Japan.”
|DOB||Since the Illuminati was founded|
|Drinkoscope||“Disrupting the new world spirits”|
|Background||They are part of the Mikkeller family, but they specialize in the age-old method of casking. We were pretty surprised that the spirits responded to us, as we are far from enlightened.|
“Greetings craft beer fans of Tokyo! We are honored and thrilled to share with you our carefully crafted beers and visit your amazing country. We can’t wait to meet all of you and eat a bunch of sushi!”
-The Veil Brewing Co.
|Brewery||The Veil Brewing Co.|
|Drinkoscope||“We focus on hop forward beers, high gravity and barrel aging, lagers, wild ales, and spontaneous fermentation.”|
|Background||A fairly new brewery, but they were rated the best new brewery in Virginia and rated number three globally. They continue to ramp up production with the opening of their second taproom while tweaking their recipe to ensure that the public will enjoy their product.|
“Great Leap Brewing is the first craft brewery in Beijing, China. Great Leap craft beers proudly incorporate traditional Chinese ingredients and boast flavors and aromas unique to the Middle Kingdom. Each of our beers is created with the goal of showcasing the finest aspects of Chinese history and culture. Founded by Carl Setzer and Liu Fang, Great Leap first opened for business in October of 2010 at Original #6 in Doujiao Hutong. We are very excited to be attending MBCT this year and getting to pour beer alongside some of the world’s most creative breweries. We have brought along 8 of our finest creations, some of our crowd favorites as well as some special, limited edition brands to share with our friends in Tokyo. Be sure to try our Honey Ma Gold – a golden ale infused with organic honey and the Sichuan peppercorn, the first beer we ever created – as well as our Wild Wall Series KoelBrett Apricot, which is a mixed fermentation beer infused with apricots that we have yet to release anywhere!”
-Great Leap Brewing
|Brewery||Great Leap Brewing|
|Drinkoscope||Using traditional Chinese ingredients to bring the flavor and aroma to the Chinese market.|
|Background||They are considered the first craft brewery in China and each beer they produce has a story to it, from the local ingredients to Chinese folklore. Their IPA series is named after famous military personnel from Chinese history.|
“OMNIPOLLO® team is [e]xcited and ready to make the Tokyo tour one of the most epic ever! We will be bringing some of our best liked beers as well as new and completely unique concoctions. Be sure to meet us on any of the following dates:
20th Beer release at our importers Titans (Thursday, 20th – 15:00~23:00)
‘The Omnipollo’ at Commune 2nd (Friday, 21st – 16:00~22:00)
Mikkeller Beer Celebration Tokyo (MBCT) (Sunday, 23rd~Monday, 24th)”
|Drinkoscope||They are well known for experimental beer and have a wide range of brews in their portfolio.|
|Background||The founders of OMNIPOLLO, Henok Fentie and Karl Grandin, are truly the beer travellers of the world, they travel from brewery to brewery to craft their ales and changing the perception of beer.|
“Danish microbrewery To Øl is excited to go to Japan for Mikkeller Beer Celebration Tokyo. To Øl has been involved in the annual Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen for all the years. We love meeting up with other breweries, beer geeks, partners and friends and can’t wait to explore the streets and beer scene of Tokyo.
To Øl is of course putting all of our funkiest, fresh & special brews on tap for the Japanese beer fans to get a real taste of Danish HYGGE (Fuck Art – This is Hygge 7% ABV Rye Saison brewed with Rhubarb & Potatoes, To Øl’s take on Roses Are Red and Blue Velvet (Roses Are Brett 6% ABV Raspberry Saison, fermented with Brett & Velvets Are Blue, 5,5% ABV Blueberry Saison), how we say Namaste at BRUS (Namastave, 6% ABV Saison Aged in Chardonnay Barrels (Crooked Stave Collaboration) ) and some Danish Christmas Rhum soaked milk (Jule Mælk Rhum Edition, 15% ABV Imperial Milk Stout, matured with Rhum Soaked Oak Chips). Plus more crazy brews.
The taplist will be looking like this divided into the different sessions:
YELLOW: Don’t Gose Towards the Light. 3,5% ABV Back Gose with Blackcurrant 3X Raid, 5,9 ABV Triple DH IPL.
BLUE: Namastave, 6% ABV Saison Aged in Chardonnay Barrels at BRUS, Copenhagen (Crooked Stave Collaboration) Velvets Are Blue, 5,5% ABV Blueberry Saison.
RED: Fuck Art – This is Hygge, 7% ABV Rye Saison brewed with Rhubarb, Potatoes, matured with Oak Chips Jule Mælk Rhum Edition, 15% ABV Imperial Milk Stout, matured with Rhum Soaked Oak Chips.
GREEN: Roses Are Brett, 6% ABV Raspberry Saison, fermented with Brett Goliat Maple Bacon Edition, 10,2% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Maple.”
– To Øl
|DOB||First commercial brew, 2010|
|Drinkoscope||“To Øl brew a wide range of different craft beers; some potent and provocative, others fresh and floral.”|
|Background||To Øl is founded by Tore Gynther and Tobias Emil Jensen (once a student under Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (Mikkeller) when he was a teacher) who both started as homebrewers in between classes with Mikkel. Years later, To Øl was considered in 2014 to be the world’s 9th best brewery. They aim to use the highest quality of ingredients and will never compromise the taste while continuously pushing the uniqueness of their products.|
“Sour Cellars is super excited to be bringing our barrel aged sour beers to Tokyo for MBCT2018. We’re bringing flavors like Albion strawberry, pineapple, orange blossom, elderflower with lemon, boysenberry and sour cherry. It’s going to be a great time with a lot of other awesome breweries.”
|Drinkoscope||Sour beers in barrels.|
|Background||They push the sourness of brews by experimenting with different techniques and currently they have 300 oak barrels for fermentation and aging, where fermentation in the barrel takes up to one year or longer.|
Young Master Brewery opened its doors in December 2013 and kick-started the craft-brewing movement in Hong Kong. Right from inception, our mission has been to make truly distinctive beers with world-class quality standards with no pandering to lowest common denominator flavor profiles.
We are Hong Kong’s largest, highest rated, and most awarded craft brewery producing a wide range of exciting craft beers. Our beer list has always featured both classic styles like a well-balanced pale ale, avant-garde beers like a foeder aged mixed culture forest berry sour ale, ones that draw inspiration from flavors of Hong Kong, like a tart and saline Cha Chaan Teng Gose brewed with local salted lime and others that are especially designed for the seasons. We make a core range of beers all year round and a constantly changing set of limited release beers. We also frequently collaborate with like-minded institutions and our peers both in Hong Kong and globally to develop one-off or long-term beer projects.
Since Young Master began operations, we have earned the support of the most discerning clients in Hong Kong including iconic hotels like Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons; prestigious private clubs; craft beer specialist bars and some of the trendiest restaurants and bars in town. Our bottled beers are on sale at specialist stores and upscale supermarkets that carefully curate their lists.”
-Young Master Brewery
|Brewery||Young Master Brewery|
|Drinkoscope||They produce an array of craft beers.|
|Background||Young Master Brewery opened its doors in December 2013 and kick-started the craft-brewing movement in Hong Kong. Right from inception, our mission has been to make truly distinctive beers with world-class quality standards with no pandering to lowest common denominator flavor profiles.|
“Japan means a lot to us. It’s really an honor to participate MBCT. Taiwan and Tokyo is only 2 and half hour, but this is our very first time to be able to serve beer in Tokyo. At TAIHU, we want our beer to open up conversations among people. We are really excited, and looking forward to sharing our beer with all beer lovers.”
|DOB||2015 (Taproom)/2016 (Brewery)|
|Drinkoscope||A variety of styles with awards to back it up.|
|Background||They produce an array of ales while using local ingredients to introduce Taiwan to the world beer stage. They are known for their high quality and have numerous awards throughout the world.|
“Our head Brewer Lan-xin Foo shall be there in person at the festival to premier our Beers to Tokyo and we are very honored and excited to do so…hope to see you there and all the best from WarPigs.”
|Drinkoscope||American-Danish style brews.|
|Background||They are part of the Mikkeller family and in their taproom they focus on authentic Texas barbecue to create a world class brewpub. Taihei wonders if they are bringing their barbecue to the event.|
“We are an employee owned company that has been around since 2005. We have 65 employee owners. We’ve taken our brewing experiences and quirky personalities and wrapped them into a line of beers oriented around what we feel are fun, flavorful and thought-provoking. We like to work hard and play hard. We are fond of flip flops, board shorts, PBR and high fives. We are so excited to come to MBCT and meet everyone!”
|Drinkoscope||One of the most creative breweries in the States.|
|Background||This brewery is about their staff and in 2016 they offered Employee Stock Ownership to their employees to avoid corporate buyouts. They once were on the edge of bankruptcy, but with their employees and innovative ideas, they bounced out of the red and expanded their brand with seven locations, even one at Pittsburgh International Airport.|
“DevilCraft is thrilled to be a part of MBCT! We are looking forward to meeting our brewing compatriots from some of the best breweries around the world, and know that everyone involved has something truly special planned for the beer lovers of Tokyo! We are excited to try these beers ourselves, and hope to see you at the fest!”
-Devil Craft Brewery
|Brewery||Devil Craft Brewery|
|Drinkoscope||“We serve our small-batch craft beers at our 3 Tokyo locations.”|
|Background||“The concept began with the idea to make a commercial brewery for outside sales, but soon evolved into more of a ‘brewpub’ concept, where beers are brewed in-house and paired with food in a restaurant setting.”|
MBCT Breweries list
|ANGLO JAPANESE BREWING||Japan|
|DARK MATTER COFFEE||USA|
|GARAGE PROJECT||New Zealand|
|YOUNG MASTER||Hong Kong|