10 April 2016

Sapporo Beer Museum and Biergarten

Whilst visiting the Sapporo Snow Festival a couple of months ago, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the Sapporo Beer Museum, dedicated to Hokkaido's most famous brew.

The red brick building dates back to 1890

The museum is about the history of Sapporo Breweries and beer brewing in Japan more generally. There are good quality English-language leaflets available so you can actually learn quite a bit about the history of the company as you walk around the displays, even if you don't speak Japanese. The attractive building which houses the museum dates to 1890, and was originally the factory for the Sapporo Sugar Company.

A view of the building's tower, which can be seen from miles away!

The museum has a series of really cool animated models on the 3rd floor, which display the different stages of the brewing process. There is also a timeline of the history of the company, including where the brewing technique came from. A member of the company went to Germany in 1873 to learn the craft, and returned as Japan's first brewing master: which probably explains why the beer tastes so good! 

One of my favourite elements of the museum, which continues down on the 2nd floor, are the displays of the packaging design and posters from previous eras.

Yebisu beer bottles from the early 1900s

Interesting choice of brand name...

Some of the company's non-alcoholic beverages

A range of rather artistic designs for beer cans

The museum itself is free to enter, but you have to pay for the samples at the end. You can get a tasting set of three beers (Sapporo Black Label, Sapporo Classic and Kaitakushi Beer) for 500JPY, which is pretty good value I think. You also get a free snack of cheese or crackers to go with your beer!

The tasting set goes down well!

Next door to the museum is the Sapporo Biergarten, where you can go on to have a few more beers if the tasting set wasn't enough!

You can enjoy draft beer in this nostalgic beer hall, as well as one of Hokkaido's best-loved dishes, Genghis Khan (Jingisukan). The dish consists of mutton and a selection of vegetables (cabbage, beansprouts etc), which are all cooked by the diner on a metal skillet at the table. It is well worth trying, although be warned that you will leave smelling of grilled lamb!!

You start by melting some fat onto the skillet...

... and then grill away to your heart's content!

The Sapporo Beer Museum and Biergarten are definitely a fun way to spend an afternoon in Sapporo! If you visit Sapporo and visit just one place, you can't go wrong with the a trip to the Beer Museum.

Have you tried any Japanese beers? How do you think they compare to European or American beers?


  1. This place looks amazing. I've been trying to get into beer recently and have been drinking lots of Asahi which I like but I'm definitely keen to try different Japanese brews when I'm out there.

    1. You're coming at a good time of year to try some different Japanese beers, as they always release limited edition Halloween ones :) I've actually been drinking a lot of the Suntory Pumpkin Special recently as the local supermarket still had some in stock and it's sooo good: https://japanbeer.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/suntory-pumpkin-special/