Friday food treat: Japanese beer

Beer tasting at Sapporo Beer Museum

Beer tasting at Sapporo Beer Museum

Sapporo is the home of one of Japan’s iconic beers. Sapporo beer is easily identified by the star on its label. The star has featured in its label since 1869. Not only is Sapporo a popular beer, it has played an important part in the economy of Hokkaido.

Our recent visit to Sapporo enabled us to visit the Sapporo beer museum where a self-guided tour ends in a beer hall where beer tastings are possible. The ingredients for each of these, are grown in Hokkaido.

Three Sapporo Beers

Black label Sapporo beer – has a fruity taste of hops and barley.

Classic – made from 100% malt that has the original beer taste.

Kaitakushi beer – made from the original recipe of the Kaitakushi brewery, and made using malt, hops, yeast and pure water giving it a rich and mild taste.

A brief history of Sapporo beer

1869 Kaitakushi beer was established. The Kaitakushi (red) star and the pioneering spirit it represents have been inherited by Sapporo Breweries.

1875 Kaitakushi hired Japanese brewers trained in authentic brewing in Germany and started a beer business.

1875 Kaitakushi was supposed to build a new brewing facility in Tokyo, but this was abandoned and Hokkaido was selected as its location.

1876 A two storey wooden brewery was built in Hokkaido – the region’s first.

1877 The first delivery of Sapporo beer was sold in Tokyo.

1880 Sapporo beer’s reputation soared with foreigners and other beer aficionados.

1903 Sapporo Breweries became Japan’s biggest brewery when it opened its Tokyo brewery.

Beer pouring in Japan
Pouring beer Japanese style
Monsieur Contrôleur noticed that the way a beer is poured in Japan is not the same as elsewhere. Beer is poured into the glass by waiter pulling the lever towards them until the glass is almost full. At that point they puch the beer handle backwards and the froth is delivered on top, in just the right measure. Sounds like more Japanese precision to me!

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