Have Beer, Will Travel

DSC08607One of the first things I penned down on my bucket list when doing my research on Sapporo was the Sapporo Beer Museum (札幌ビール博物館) and the Sapporo Factory (サッポロファクトリー). I’ve always enjoyed Japanese beer, and in particular, Sapporo (I prefer this over Asahi or Kirin). So how could I not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Grail when I am in Sapporo?

Let’s cut to the brew. To be honest, if time is of the essence for you in Sapporo, I suggest you can safely give both destinations a miss. I hear a gasp…

Yes I mean it! As much as I fancy a tipple from the sacred shrine, I would have to admit that besides the beer tasting (which you can actually experience without a tour of the museum), both destinations do not offer a truly interactive experience.DSC08610DSC08613 Take the Sapporo Factory for example. This former brewery is now a shopping centre, restaurant complex and tourist trinkets trap. The only reason I spent a good hour there – there’s a small tasting room at the corner of a miniscule “exhibition room” where you can taste 6 different kinds of Sapporo Beer for 250 yen each for half a pint.DSC08621DSC08605DSC08608Next, the Sapporo Beer Museum (札幌ビール博物館). It’s a shuttle bus ride from the Factory. The architecture is strangely European and the distinctive Sapporo red star that adorns every steeple and roof kind of reminds you of the former communist Soviet Union (or is it just me?)DSC08720Inside the Museum, there’s two floors of exhibits – both of which took me less than 5 minutes each. The exhibits cover the history of Sapporo Brewery and a special tribute to their bestselling Black Label. I would have preferred a more interactive experience, but sadly, the exhibits are mainly posters and Sapporo beer bottles from the different eras.DSC08647DSC08631Now if you have time, the beer tasting is the real deal. And the best part, you get to sample 3 half-pints of different Sapporo beers at a grand total of 500 yen. This almost makes the earlier price tag of 250 yen per half pint offered at the Factory seem exorbitant. In addition to the beer tasting, there’s an interesting souvenir shop where you can purchase beer flavoured chocolates, beer flavoured cookies, beer flavoured anything… Cheers to that!  LSDSC08724DSC08733DSC08621DSC08637DSC08640DSC08644DSC08602

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