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The Craft

Snow Monkey IPA by Tamamura Honten (Shiga Kogen Beer)

Note from Beer Beer Beer: Today's article and imagery is kindly provided by fellow beer lover, Ryan Smith. Additional editing by John McCracken.


This Japanese IPA is brought to us by one of Japan’s best known craft beer breweries. Shiga Kogen Beer, run by sake manufacturer Tamamura Honten, has consistently been providing the ever expanding Japanese boutique beer market with quality brew after quality brew.

Not afraid to experiment and take risks, Shiga Kogen have been rewarded with another truly awesome beer, the Snow Monkey IPA. Snow Monkeys relaxing in natural hot springs are a quintessential image of the cold Japanese winters but in this case it is referring to the craft beer music festival held annually in the mountains of Nagano prefecture, the home of Shiga Kogen.


The bottle features the festivals monkey head logo on the bottom of the label. This IPA is very reminiscent of a west coast IPA but perhaps not as potent. It pours out fairly cloudy with a light and airy head. The initial taste will satisfy those of us who enjoy a strong, bitter flavor but you are left with a clean and crisp after taste. The citrus flavors are subtle but give a well rounded texture to the beer. In my opinion this is a great beer to introduce IPAs to your uninitiated but curious friends.

Style: IPA (West Cost?)

ABV: 5.5%


Note: Shiga Kogen Beers are often sold either under the Shiga Kogen name or Tamamura Honten (the original sake distillery). Keep an eye out for both labels for a delicious beer!

The specific label for Snow Monkey IPA (left) with the Tamamura Honten label (right) with it's iconic dragon. 

The specific label for Snow Monkey IPA (left) with the Tamamura Honten label (right) with it's iconic dragon.