In nearly every brewery taproom you’ll find T-shirts, caps and other merchandise. The beer comes first, but the branded merchandise is popular as well. At the quirky and playful DD4D Brewing in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, however, it was the other way around. This former apparel-only store expanded into brewing craft beers in 2019 when Keita Yamanouchi moved back from Tokyo in hopes of starting a craft brewery in his hometown. His late father had owned DD4D, and it was the store manager who suggested to Yamanouchi, “Why not use the DD4D store as your base?”
Known as the “Citrus Kingdom,” Matsuyama City is one of Japan’s leading producers of citrus fruit, their most famous being mikan (tangerine). Led by Yamanouchi and brewmaster Michael Donohue, from Philadelphia, the international team at DD4D takes advantage of this and uses seasonal citrus like mikan (tangerine), iyokan and yuzu prominently in their beers, which range from IPAs, sours, barleywines and more. They also use other unique products including sansho (Japanese pepper), soybean flour, cherries and hibiscus. This May, they launched a special 4th Anniversary series of beers including Sake Yeast Beer, which, as its name suggests, tastes like sake. They pride themselves on creating new beers nearly every week—more than 150 beers in the last four years—and have won gold at the International Beer Cup three years in a row.
Their classic DD4D IPA is a simple West Coast IPA that doesn’t use any secondary ingredients, so the quality and quantity of hops and brewing techniques are directly visible. Since this beer uses a lot of hops, it is important to control oxygen levels to prevent the beer from deteriorating. They also add a large amount of sucrose so the yeast can decompose, suppressing the sweetness while increasing the hop aroma.
Daily Dose is a sour ale flavored with iyokan, a citrus found in every home during the winter. The aroma of the ale shifts depending on the iyokan’s production area and season.
“Our Don Jalapeño west coast IPA is very popular,” says marketing manager Shin Murakami. “The aroma of the jalapeño creates a good balance with the flavors of the IPA.”
DD4D also collaborates with other breweries, their most recent Nomcraft in Wakayama Prefecture. The collaboration came about when they each of their kegs was mistakingly returned to the other, so they created a citrus beer since Ehime and Wakayama are both known for their fruit. Their second collaboration was a double IPA.
While the store still continues to sell clothes, there’s a taproom for locals and visitors to enjoy their beers. In December 2021, they also opened DD4D Factory and Curiosities near the harbor, just a half-hour drive from the store and taproom. The factory allowed them to expand brewing and start canning their beer. There’s a taproom there as well.
Finally, why the name DD4D? “Yamanouchi’s father named the store, but passed away without telling anyone the meaning, so it remains a mystery for all of us!” says Murakami.
- Mondays to Saturdays, 11:00-20:00
- Friday and Saturday, 11:00-21:00
- (Closed on Wednesdays)