Beervana has landed in Tenjin once again! Belgian Beer Weekend is back in Fukuoka for the fourth time, and this year it’s celebrating 150 years of friendship between Belgium and Japan – and what do friends do when they get together? They have a drink! The festival is running from May 12 (Thu.) to May 15 (Sun.) in the space in front of City Hall (come rain or shine). On the first day of the festival, May 12, the Fukuoka Now staff headed over there for after-work drinks…
We arrived at around 19:00, and by that time the venue was already hop-ping! People were perusing the beer stalls, lounging on the seating – both conventional chairs and hipster-style crate seating, or enjoying the live music by the stage.
This year, there’s a staggering 90 draft and bottled beers on offer – nearly double that of last year! Choose from 11 types of beer, including pilsners, fruit beers, IPAs, white beers, ales and saison beers! On the other hand, you don’t need to know anything at all! Next to each beer there’s an infographic telling you all you need to know about the taste of the drink using six criteria: (甘味 (sweetness), 酸味 (acidity), 苦味 (bitterness), コク (richness), キレ (sharpness) and 香り (aroma). (Or you could simply pick the best-looking label…).
It’s all so authentically Belgian – from the strict two-fingers-worth of foam per beer glass, to the palette knife used to sweep away the excess. And so that you can truly appreciate each beer’s unique flavor, glass-rinsing stations are provided. Found your new favorite beer? Buy some to take home at the shop.
At the BBW Boutique, which was a popular new addition last year, the selection of beer changes every day, so you can go to the event on different days and still find something new to tickle your tastebuds.
The Fukuoka edition of Belgian Beer Weekend is hosting Intergalactic Lovers, an award-winning Belgian indie rock band. These four friends have toured America, Canada and Japan, and last night, they had the crowd enthralled with their alternative laidback sound, compelling lyrics and charismatic lead singer, who charmed the crowd with her attempts at Japanese and springbok-like movements across the stage. The Intergalactic Lovers will play again from 18:30 on May 13 (Fri.) and from 18:00 on May 14 (Sat.), and we think it’s worth going to the festival just to hear them – certain FN staff members have already downloaded their latest album… (See the schedule for full details of the event’s upcoming live performances.)
A big part of Belgian Beer Weekend is the food (all selected to go well with beer). There are all sorts of Belgian comfort foods on offer, from waffles served with berry or chocolate sauce to a variety set which includes chorizo, fried chicken and pom’pin potatoes (deep-fried mashed potato). The main event, however, is the fries. Fritkot’s fries are made using “bintje” potatoes, which apparently have the perfect size, color and taste for Belgian fries. Opt for simple mayo, the way most Belgians do it, or pay a little extra for one of their special dipping sets (choose from andalouse, truffle mayonnaise and honey mustard or cheese, curry ketchup and tartar sauce). Fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, with just the perfect level of saltiness, you should be warned that these fries are heavily addictive.
If you download the Belgian Beer Weekend app, it can not only match you to your ideal beer, help you remember your favorites (useful once you’re a bit tipsy) and keep a record of how much you’ve drunk (measured by the barrel!). It also has a map of the venue, food prices and the live music schedule.
Belgian Beer Weekend works on a token system. Pay ¥3,100 for your starter set, which includes your glass (which also makes a great souvenir) and 11 tokens. A beer typically costs between 3 and 5 tokens, and a small portion of fries is just 2 tokens. (Each token is worth ¥210.)
Upon purchasing your starter set you will receive a wristband. On each wristband there’s a code; enter that code into the website (also written on the wristband) to enter the raffle. The grand prize is a pair of tickets to Belgium (a pair will be given out at each Belgian Beer Weekend event). There are 150 prizes in total (to correspond to 150 years of friendship between Belgium and Japan), and examples of the other goodies on offer are beer glasses, restaurant coupons and gift boxes of beer. The deadline to apply is 19:00 on May 15 (Sun.). (You must be aged 20 or over to apply.)
So seize the hop-portunity to try new Belgian beers, gorge on authentic Belgian fries and listen to popular Belgian artists – in short, experience the best of Belgium in the heart of Fukuoka.
• 5/12 (Thu.) ~ 5/15 (Sun.)
• Thu. ~ Fri.: 16:00~22:00, Sat.: 11:00~22:00, Sun.: 11:00~21:00
• ¥3,100 (incl. glass & 11 food/drink tokens; adv. tickets come with original BBW token pouch)
• Fureai Hiroba, Fukuoka City Hall
• 1-8-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku