All right, so maybe these photos don't actually show a lot of the museum itself, but unless you really have an interest in the brewing process, then you are probably like the other 99% of the visitors to the museum who go for the other attraction: the Yebisu ‘Tasting Salon’ Beer Garden! But, since you cannot get to Beer Garden without walking through the museum, then just like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.
The Yebisu Beer Museum is built on the site of the original Yebisu Brewery, established in 1887. Yebisu is one of the oldest beers in Japan, so the museum houses lots of relics from the traditional brewing process, as well as some very cool antique posters and advertisements through the years, showing how the styles in Japan have changed over the decades and become more modern.
Tour guides are available, for a fee, to take you on a 40-minute walk through the exhibitions, explaining the brewing process and the history of the company. If you are interested in learning about it, then get the guide, since most of the exhibits do not have English translations.
After you walk through the museum you get to the tasting area, where you spend ¥400 for tokens which you redeem at the bar for a tray of four glasses of different Yebisu flavours (my favourite was the dark beer).
The Japanese love drinking, and certainly love beer, and Yebisu is considered a ‘premium’ or ‘luxury’ beer in Japan as it is made from 100% malt. In a convenience store, a can of Yebisu can be almost twice the price of your regular cheap beer. So the Tasting Salon is a great way to sample all the Yebisu flavours.
Be sure to take a seat by the big picnic tables, full of tipsy oji-chan who seem very happy to sponsor cute gaijin girls with an extra tray and chat in somewhat dodgy but friendly English. A little liquid courage always helps with inter-cultural exchange.
The last order at the Tasting Salon is at 18:30, so be sure to get one more tray for the road before the Museum closes at 19:00.
Yebisu Beer Museum is located a few minutes from Ebisu station, and easy to find. From Ebisu Station, walk along the Yebisu Skywalk to get to Yebisu Garden Place. Quite a nice and scenic area, and a good way to relax and enjoy some cold beers in nice surroundings.