Interview: brewmaster Masafumi “Mori” Morita (Yo-Ho Brewing)

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Craft Beer Japan

When Yo-Ho Brewing Company brewmaster Masafumi “Mori” Morita e-mailed Firestone Walker brewmaster Matt Brynildson, asking about the secret to his success, he got much more than he expected in return. Not only did Brynildson dispense advice, he also offered Mori an invitation to attend the inaugural Firestone Walker Invitational Brew Fest in Paso Robles. On June 9, we met at the fest, and Mori helped explain how he’s found hop-fueled success.

What is the first beer that you remember?

Maybe Bass pale ale. It was very interesting for me, so I decided to be a brewer. There are very few beer styles in Japan, so I try to spread other styles of beers to Japan, so I decided to be a brewer.

Did anybody teach you?

Only on the job training.

So Yo-Ho Brewing is your first brewery?


What’s the first beer you ever brewed, and was it good?

In Japan, we can’t homebrew, so Yo-Ho is my first brewery. Of course it’s good.

Is Yona Yona an ale?

Yes, this is our flagship pale ale. Yona Yona means “every night.”

How do you decide which beers to brew?

Japanese people don’t have much experience brewing craft beer, so we focus on consumers and they make it easy to drink. It’s very suitable for consumers because it’s a sweet and hoppy beer. Consumers don’t like bitter beers so much.

Is every beer a pale ale at Yo-Ho?

No, these beers are pale ale, porter and IPA. Sometimes we brew seasonal beer, blonde ale and barleywine, and organic beer.

Do you like to listen to music while you brew?


What do you like to drink when you’re not working?

Sometimes pale ale, sometimes barleywine.

Always beer?


If you could only drink one more beer, and it’s not your beer, what would it be?

Good question. Firestone Pale, because I really respect their beers. Mr. Matt [Brynildson] invited me to this great festival and he shared a lot of information with me. I really respected him, so I’d try to drink his beer for my last beer.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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