Imported beer? Make that an imported brewmaster.
The Japan Times has an interesting feature on Frankfurt native Johannes Braun of Otaru Beer. In 1994, when the craft wave began in Japan thanks to law revisions, Braun was recruited to move to Otaru to create beer in the traditional styles he learned growing up.
Although he's been going strong for years and the beer is well established in the North (so I read), don't expect to find a bottle at your local liquor shop. According to the article it's only available within a 100 kilometer radios of Otaru (make travel plans accordingly).
Braun chimes in on a number of hot topics in the Japan craft world, including the sameness in offerings from the big companies, consumers who see beer as a starter to clear their throats, and a tax system that makes quality beer more expensive than swill when it should be the other way around.
Cheers to Braun for giving me one more reason to want to travel to (move to?) Hokkaido.