My first encounter with Belgian Beer Weekend was in September 2012. In Tokyo they hold the event every fall at Roppongi Hills and it’s packed with people. It was at this event that I met the brewer of Tripel Karmeliet, one of my favorite beers at the time. The first time I attended they handed out cards (pictured above) that you could collect stamps on and win a chance at a trip to Europe. My friend and I succeeded in collecting all ten stamps. It was a mess, and we only needed five it turned out. We didn’t let that revelation stop us from running through the event singing We are the Champions anyway.
Time went on, and when I moved to Nagoya, I was pleased to discover the event also found its way to Nagoya. It’s held in the south end of Hisaya Odori Park, known as Angel Plaza. Coinciding with spring, the event can be rather lively. When you enter you pay 3,100 yen and they give you a bag with a glass, eleven plastic chips, a map and random stuff like breath mints. You trade various quantities of plastic chips (usually three or four) for different Belgian beers. Bonus points if your glass survives the event, doesn’t get lost or broken at nijikai and makes it back home.
In the end it averages out to 800 yen or so for each beer. There is also live music from Belgian groups (that you’ve never heard of). Just make sure to get there early — the event winds down around 8:30 and finishes at 9:00.