Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sapporo Brewery

The oldest Japanese beer, from a German-trained brewer, is from Sapporo. Before we moved here it was the only Japanese beer I knew and was generally hard to find outside the chain hibachi restaurant. When I mentioned we were going to Sapporo to Japanese coworkers the first comment was, "Have some fresh beer!". Why yes, I think we will.

Gorgeous building with (gasp!) a FREE tour
I get excited about free. Japan is expensive so free really rocks my socks. The museum has many displays of the history behind beer making and consumption in Japan. All the panels are in Japanese; however, we were given a pamphlet with almost all the plaques translated.

After learning about the history, mergers, and quality ingredients used in Sapporo's brewing process we came across an adorable display.

Everyone is happy with Sapporo Beer!

There were many displays of bottles, signs, taps, and machinery for brewing used prior to World War II.

The marketing has changed dramatically over the years. In the late 19th century marketing always had a beautiful geisha. The concept of logo recognition hadn't taken over and the scripts and fonts varied depending on the artist, but there was always a woman in kimono. There were no marketing displays during World War II. Beginning in the fifties, brand recognition began to take hold and the red Sapporo star is visible in all advertisements. Additionally, the posters began to have a more Western-feel and included men, sports stars, and other celebrities.

At the end of the museum, we were given the option to try three types of Sapporo beer. Dustin is under military restrictions so I got to enjoy three different brews: the Classic, Black Label, and Kitakushu, a brew that only last up to a week because it has no preserving yeast. Maybe it's a European thing, but adding foam to the top of beer is the way it is served. We've noticed this in multiple places that serve beer. There are two taps - one that dispenses your beer and one that adds foam to the top.

After our tour we walked to the other side of the main building to eat yakiniku at the Sapporo Beer Garden. We got a small set of lamb and mixed vegetables. It was the first time I've ever eaten lamb. It was tasty - although my guilt outweighs my desire to have it again.

The food and beer was delicious. Definitely a must-visit if you are ever in Sapporo.

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