The history of Sapporo started together with beer!?
The history of beer in Sapporo begins with the Kaitakushi Beer Brewery (the predecessor of Sapporo Beer), established by the government in 1876. Sapporo Beer’s star logo is derived from the “Red Star” symbol of Kaitakushi. It is also used on the clock tower and red-brick government buildings, and can be seen as a symbol of Hokkaido’s development. Here is a guide to a journey through the history and culture of beer in Sapporo, “where there is low humidity and the water is delicious”.
City of beer, Sapporo!
We introduce the culture of beer in Sapporo today,
from classic beer gardens to the craft beers gaining popularity,
factory tours and souvenirs.
We introduce how to enjoy beer unique to Sapporo together with sightseeing spots. We will guide you through a journey where you will enjoy Sapporo and its beers to your heart’s content: from Sapporo’s classic beer courts and beer gardens, to the fine craft beers which are gaining popularity, the tours of local beer factories where you can enjoy the taste of fresh beer, and the standard local souvenir beers.
I want to enjoy classic Sapporo beer culture!
The combination of “Genghis Khan” (a Japanese grilled mutton dish) and beer is the classic way to enjoy food in Sapporo. At Sapporo Beer Garden, Asahi Beer Hokkaido factory, and Kirin Beer Garden, you can eat your fill of Genghis Khan and enjoy draft beer direct from the factory in the large venues. There are also all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink menus, so you can bring the children along or enjoy a big gathering without having to worry. This is the classic way to enjoy beer in Sapporo.
I want to enjoy the unique local beers of Sapporo!
Craft beers (local beers) are becoming popular across the country. They are taking off in Sapporo too. It is surely no coincidence that Munich and Portland—sister cities of Sapporo—are both world famous for their craft beers. Maltheads and Kalahana, two of the sponsors of the craft beer festival “Sapporo Craft Beer Forest”, are beer bars which embody the perfectionism towards beer of the brewers. Attention should also be paid to the directly-managed beer bars of North Island Beer and Otaru Beer, brewers of Hokkaido craft beers and sponsors of the craft beer festival.
I want to enjoy Japan’s largest beer garden, which has over 50 years of history!
The climate in Sapporo in summer is crisp, with low humidity. Every year in Odori Park, a beer garden boasting 13,000 seats is held as part of the Sapporo Summer Festival. This beer garden, on a scale unseen anywhere else in the country, is well worth enjoying even if you are not a beer lover. The venue is divided up between famous domestic beer makers. Don’t miss out on this midsummer Sapporo feast where you can enjoy beer and seasonal Hokkaido gourmet cuisine.
Tour of the factory
I want to enjoy a tour of the factory and sample some freshly made beer!
If you also include the suburbs of Sapporo, there are two facilities where you can take a beer factory tour: the Asahi Beer Hokkaido factory and the Otaru Beer Zenibako Brewery. After your tour of either of the factories, where you learn the mechanics of beer brewing, you can enjoy some freshly-brewed draft beer, and that should make any beer lover’s mouth water. You can also dine at the adjoining restaurants and beer bars directly managed by the factory, so even visitors with children can enjoy the beers.
I want to take home the unique Sapporo beer as a souvenir!
We introduce Sapporo beers which make the best souvenirs. The most popular is Sapporo Beer’s “Sapporo Classic”. It is a canned beer only available in Hokkaido, made from 100% malt with no other added ingredients, and you can buy it at the convenience stores and supermarkets. Other recommendations include “Pirikawakka”, which means “Clear Water” in the Ainu language, brewed with good quality Chitose water; “Susukino Local Beer”, loved by the locals and brewed with quality water using traditional methods; Sapporo Beer’s other brand “Kaitakushi Local Beer”; the local “Ishikari Banya Beer” produced at the mouth of the Ishikari river; and “Noboribetsu Onidensetsu”, produced at the main store of Wakasaimo, famous for Sapporo souvenirs.