I felt like a fraud when I entered Sapporo Beer Museum. There I was, all 25 years of me, surrounded with everything beer when all I’ve ever had that was remotely close to being called a beer was a 2% diluted in a glass half-filled with ice. Luckily, the museum doesn’t discriminate so I made my way through the ancient brick building, and I admit that everything was great – except the beer-tasting at the end.
Sapporo Beer Museum is a “Hokkaido Heritage” site that can pride itself at being the only one of its kind in Japan. First opened in 1987, the museum was once a factory of the Sapporo Sugar Company. Now its exhibition allows guests to learn about the Japanese beer industry.
The route through the museum begins on the 3rd floor where you can join a tour group with a Japanese guide, but
because my Japanese is still poor despite being here for more than a year the tour had already started when I got there I opted to go around of my own. Even with the help of only an information sheet and the animated models, I learned a lot about Sapporo beer including its beginnings during the Meiji Restoration.
The history continued on the second floor where an array of posters and signboards showed how beer advertisement has changed throughout the years since the Meiji era. I was also excited that I got to learn about “black label”, which reminded me of a certain Johnnie Walker that dad likes.
In the last room on the second floor was this unique information counter, which would have been even better if it had a bartender. But if you go past this and take the stairs to the first floor, you’ll see the real one right beside a vending machine where you can purchase a ticket for a drink.
For 200 yen, you can get a glass of Sapporo Black Label, Sapporo Classic, Kaitakushi Beer, or a can of Non Alcoholic Beer. For 300 yen, you can get a Tasting Set for the first three. They also have Orange Soda, Cold Green Tea, and Grapefruit Juice for 100 yen, but I was feeling brave so I went for Non Alcoholic Beer. I kinda hoped that my time in the museum would make me appreciate beer, but the drink actually managed to make me dislike it even more. （￣□￣；）
Despite my lack of interest in the final product, I enjoyed learning about the history of beer making in Japan and how it changed over the years. If it’s true that “The history of Sapporo is the history of brewing in Japan”* then I think Sapporo Beer Museum rightly deserves its “Hokkaido Heritage” designation because it had the right amount of beer, history, and Hokkaido.
10:30 AM – 06:30 PM
(Closed on Mondays and on New Year)
SUBWAY: Get off at Higashi-kuyakusyomae Station, and walk to the museum for 10 minutes.
BUS: Take the Chuo Bus at “Sapporo Ekimae” bus stop near JR Sapporo Station South Exit, and get off at the Sapporo Beer Garden bus stop.
*from Sapporo Beer Musuem’s brochure