The Local BrewBy Bryan Harrell
Hansharo Beer, Izunokuni City, Shizuoka
Opportunities for outdoor activities on the Izu Peninsula are countless, but places to visit afterward where they brew their own beer are few. One that’s rather easily accessible is Kuraya Narusawa, brewer of Hansharo Beer. The brewery and restaurant are near Izu Nagaoka Station on the Izu Hakone Line, about 20 minutes from Mishima, a stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen.
Hansharo Beer gets its name from the iron furnaces where huge cannons were forged in the mid-1800s. The cannons were shipped to a spot on Tokyo Bay where they were mounted to blast away at unwanted ships. That place is now called Odaiba. The furnace towers are still there, as a peculiar tourist attraction. This later became the site of Kuraya Narusawa, a sake brewery. In recent years, a beer brewery has also been operating.
Of interest here is the Daiginjo Masako, a light, golden ale that is an original of sorts made with sake yeast. While I can’t find any distinguishing “sake” flavor, it is a smooth and drinkable beer that pretty much anyone will enjoy.
Other regular beers in their lineup are Taroeimon, a pale ale drier and less fruity than Daiginjo Masako, and Yoritomo, a dark beer made with several varieties of roasted malt. They also make seasonal ales which change every few months. On our visit, we had an India Pale Ale which has since been replaced with Weizen, a German-style wheat ale.
These beers are served in the adjoining restaurant which primarily serves yaki-niku courses from ¥2,000 to ¥3,000, as well as Hansharo Beer. Prices are ¥400 per 320-ml. glass, and ¥1,500 for a 1.4-liter pitcher. To start, I’d recommend the tasting set for ¥800, which includes four small glasses of each beer available. You can also purchase bottles of Hansharo Beer to take home at the gift shop for ¥420 each, with shipping available at an extra charge.
Kuraya Narusawa / Hansharo Beer
268-1 Naka, Izunokuni-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture
Phone: (055) 949-1208
Open: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (last order) Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last order)
Weekends and Holidays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last order)
Web site: www.kuraya-narusawa.com (Japanese)