It seems that every couple of months, a new brewery opens up in Japan riding the coat tails of the craft beer revolution. Yet Bay Brewing Yokohama was one of the first brewpubs to have come through the process with a reputation for great beer. That reputation came about because of Shinya Suzuki, the brew master of Bay Brewing Yokohama. Suzuki-san pushed Yokohama Beer forward and cemented their reputation for reputable craft beers, first as an assistant brewer before making the move to head brewer.
They may not have deviated or risked their future on IPAs, amber ales, and whatever beer was the flavour of the moment but Yokohama Beer had a brew master who knew the difference between a good beer and a great beer. Towards the end of his tenure, Suzuki-san did introduce some American style IPAs named after famous wrestling moves, such as the Scorpion Death Lock and the Yell of Apache IPA.
In 2011, Suzuki-san left Yokohama Beer to start up his own brewery, Bay Brewing Yokohama, in a small building just five minutes from Kannai station, which is fast becoming the craft beer capital of Kanagawa, if not Kanto. Suzuki-san’s brewing history is steeped in the southern German and Czech styles of beers; lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, and some porters in the mix as well.
Not knowing which direction to take, Bay Brewing Yokohama opened up as a brewpub in August 2011. In the early days of Bay Brewing Yokohama, all the beers on tap were sourced out from across Japan, with Shiga Kogen and Oirase Beer being two notable beers. The excitement quickly faded as customers were left waiting for Suzuki-san’s beers. When were they coming? In early 2012, Bay Brewing Yokohama received their happo-shu brewing licence, which meant they needed to produce 6kL (6,000L) a year, finally fulfilling Suzuki-san’s dream of owning his own brewery.