Belgian Beer Weekend 2012

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Belgian Beer Weekend 2012

Just when Tokyo's Oktoberfest onslaught was beginning to get too much, along comes an alternative. Compared to its Munich forebear, the Belgian Beer Weekend is a recent invention: the first edition was held in 1999, at the Grand Place in Brussels. Tokyo became home to the Weekend's first international offshoot in 2010, and it's been getting bigger and better ever since. This year's edition expands the selection of beers to nearly 80 different varieties, running from the workaday (Stella Artois, Hoegaarden White) to the downright exotic (Rochefort 10, Rodenbach Grand Cru). And while the Oktoberfest crowds have to settle for some iffy oom-pah bands, they've got some genuinely big-name Belgian acts supplying the entertainment here, including grizzled bluesman Roland van Campenhout and synth rockers Arsenal. Note that while it's free to get in, food and drinks are bought with tickets that must be purchased in bulk; the ¥3,100 'starter set' gets you a ¥600 glass (¥100 of which goes to quake relief) and ¥2,500 of tickets.