If it weren’t for the Japanese staff bustling around the brewery and restaurant, you’d swear you were in a Pacific Northwest taproom. Revo Brewing, Yokohama’s newest brewery and taproom, borrowed inspiration from Portland-style pubs and breweries adding to an already blossoming craft beer scene in Yokohama.
Revo owner Makoto Takahashi ran three successful steak and wine restaurants in Tokyo and was looking for his next challenge when he learned about a great space that had become available. He was not a craft beer expert but once he saw the location with views of the bay, he had a vision of what he could add to the developing scene.
He teamed up with former Coedo Beer brewer Yasuki Mizunuma and opened Revo Brewing on the first floor of the new APA Hotel & Resort Yokohama Bay Tower just in time for the Rugby World Cup. The in-house brewery is the first thing customers see as they step inside, followed by the spacious bar and dining area.
Takahashi turned to Japan’s top American craft beer importer Antenna America for advice. Their nearby taproom and bottle shop was where he was first exposed to a wide variety of craft beer with the hazy IPAs standing out the most.
“It’s not as bitter as an IPA and I thought it would be a good way to introduce craft beer to Japanese people,” says Takahashi. “Also, there aren’t many breweries in Japan making hazy IPAs.”
Within the two years it took him to build Revo Brewing, Takahashi and Mizunuma visited breweries in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland. Hazy IPAs have taken the U.S. by storm, consistently outselling traditional IPAs and Revo Brewing wanted the same to happen in Japan. Their I am The President (6.5%) has fruity, tropical notes of mango and orange and a smooth, gentle mouthfeel from the oats. The beer is dedicated to APA Hotel’s president Fumiko Motoya, whose hotels are famously decorated with orange facades, and can only be found at this location. “We’re not affiliated with APA Hotels but because we’re located on the first floor of their new property, they asked if we could name one of our beers after their president,” explains Takahashi.
Their experimental approach offers customers a fun selection of brews, like their pink-tinted wheat ale using hibiscus. For craft beer novices, their second recommended beer is the mild Green Room Session Hazy IPA (3%) with lower alcohol content and fewer hops. Although they are mainly focused on hazy IPAs, they also brew West Coast-style IPAs and brown ales and feature friend taps, working with nearby breweries like Yokohama Beer and Bay Brewing. Last month, they collaborated with Level Beer to brew a Brut IPA, brewed in a style not often found in Japan where they used less sugar. In the future they hope to obtain their happo-shu certification.
Takahashi has a big vision for Revo Brewing, as he shows off the words printed on his customized jacket sleeve, “Minato Mirai Craft Beer Project.” Minato Mirai is the shopping and dining area along the port that has developed over the past three decades. Takahashi hopes this neighborhood will mirror Portland’s craft beer scene offering people numerous venues to try different, unique types of beer.
“Revo stands for revolution, and that’s what we want, a beer revolution,” says Takahashi. “In America, craft beer is a culture, whereas in Japan things like hazy IPAs are just seen as a trend. We want more people to know about it and to transition trends into culture.”
9-min. walk from Bashamichi Station or 12-min. walk from Sakuragicho Station
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (open daily)