Enjoy craft beer! Try your hand at Sapporo beer tourism

Learn to love craft beer by mingling with the brewer, or sample different flavors with a tasting set. Which craft beer will you try today?

※This article was created on November 25, 2015.

Craft beers with unique tastes and ingredients made by small production breweries are becoming more and more popular in Japan. The main attraction of craft beers is the wide variety of tastes they offer—be it the bitterness or aroma of the hops, or a spicy or fruity flavor. In Sapporo there is a growing number of brewpubs(*) with their own attached brewery, as well as taprooms that showcase craft beers from both Japan and abroad, adding an extra dimension to Sapporo beer tourism. Learn to love craft beer by mingling with the brewer, or sample different flavors with a tasting set. Which craft beer will you try today?

*Brewpub: An eatery that also has its own brewing equipment for crafting beer in-house

Useful tidbits of knowledge for Sapporo beer tourism. What will you drink today?

First and foremost, get to know the different styles of beer.


Pilsner is a popular choice among beer drinkers for its refreshing taste achieved through a low-temperature aging and fermentation process. This is the most common style of beer in the world to-day.

IPA(India Pale Ale)

Characterized by its large hops content, robust bitterness and rich aroma, IPA has been a spark be-hind the popularity of craft beers.


Wiezen means wheat in German. Wiezenbier is beer made with wheat germ. With a little bitterness and a smooth texture, this type of beer has a delicately sweet and mild taste.

What does IBU and ABV mean on a menu?

International Bitterness Units

Pilsner beers that are familiar to most people stand at around 20 IBU. The higher the number, the greater the bite.

Alcohol by volume

ABV, or alcohol by volume, refers to a beer’s alcohol content.

Enjoy craft beer while mingling with the brewer

There are two taprooms located near Nijo Market. Opened in 2014, Moon and Sun Brewingis a brew pub with its own in-store brewing equipment. It produces original beers with a wide range of different flavors, such as beer made with 100% Hokkaido-grown hops or beers made with seasonal fruits. Needless to say, every one of its beers dazzles the taste buds of customers. The other isBeer Bar NORTH ISLAND, which is directly owned and operated by a brewery located on the outskirts of Sapporo. It serves craft beer with a focus on six original varieties. Every Friday the brewer joins the bar staff in serving customers. Feel free to exchange words with the brewer over your craft beer.

Sapporo Craft Beer Forest, a craft beer themed event, is popular for tasting different craft beer to-gether with producers from some of Japan’s top breweries. The next Sapporo Craft Beer Forest is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2016.

Taste the differences between domestic and imported craft beers

Kalahanais a craft beer and hard cider specialty store that offers a total of eight varieties of beers and ciders sourced from Japan and abroad, fresh from the barrel. It is famous for beer-braised pork (served with garlic rice), which makes you want to drink even more.Beer Cellar Sapporois a craft beer taproom that offers close to 200 varieties of beers including imported beers from Oregon (United States) and craft beers from Japan. Their popular tasting set includes four glasses of 120 ml pours from a selection of 10 beers on tap.Maltheads, a craft beer and malt whiskey taproom, offers an impressive menu containing over 100 varieties of bottled beer. Given this many choices, be sure to try out a few of Hokkaido’s craft beers. We are certain that you will come across one you’ll love.


Craft beer is now a major draw of Sapporo tourism

Owner of Maltheads
member of the Sapporo Craft Beer Forest Executive Committee
Mr. Kikuo Sakamaki

Learn or drink first? Craft beer has a deep history in Sapporo.

Once wild hops were discovered growing in Iwanai Town in 1872, in 1876 the Hokkaido Develop-ment Commissioner established Sapporo Factory, making Sapporo the birthplace of lager beer in Japan. The Sapporo Beer Museumis the only museum in Japan dedicated to beer, which showcases brewing methods as well as the history of beer in Sapporo. After browsing through the museum sample the Kaitakushi (Pioneer) Beer at the brewery insideSapporo Factory, which delivers the same flavor crafted at the time of the factory’s establishment. The restaurant by the name ofBier Keller Sapporo Kaitakushilocated on the first floor of Sapporo Factory offers a tasting set of three varieties of pioneer beer. On your visit, be sure to enjoy craft beers that are deeply rooted in the history of Sapporo.

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