The Local BrewBy Bryan Harrel
Niseko Beer at Higashiyama Eggshell
Niseko Town, Hokkaido
After glancing through our last issue, I find it’s obvious Niseko has it all for outdoor activities. However, a visit to Niseko Beer, in the Higashiyama area of Niseko, might leave you convinced the place is also a great destination for the indoors.
It’s more than a brewery – the whole operation, named Higashiyama Eggshell, houses a microbrewery on the first floor, a restaurant on the second floor and cozy European pension-style lodging on the floors above and in an adjoining cottage, which is ideal for groups up to 10 people.
As the only accommodations in the area equipped with a brewery, it may be the perfect choice for those who like to down a few in the evening.
Niseko Beer comes in two varieties, a lager and a pale ale. The lager is bright yellow, with a creamy white head, with a hop bitterness slightly more forward to distinguish it from ordinary mass-produced beer. There is also a pale ale in a light style for easy drinking.
Seasonal beers include a dark porter, which is somewhat lighter than a stout, but still richer in flavor than the lager and ale. The beers are brewed on a small Canadian-made brew-on-premises (BOP) system in small batches.
The brewery is open to tours by advance appointment, and those interested in having a custom batch of practically any style of beer brewed up, even with custom labels, can consult with the brewer.
Niseko Beer is sold for take-home as well as home delivery through their Web site. A note of caution: these beers are unfiltered and un-pasteurized and should be kept cold until consumed, which should be as soon as possible for best flavor. After a hard day of cycling, hiking, mountain climbing or rafting in the area, this will certainly not be a problem.
Perhaps the best place to down a few Niseko Beers is closest to the source, just upstairs in Restaurant Eggshell which also has an open terrace available in good weather.
In addition to pasta, pizza, stews, salads and sandwiches, a dinner course is offered for ¥3,000 and features local ingredients, including the products of two cheese producers and two sausage makers in the Niseko area.
Those lucky enough to visit in summer will also certainly appreciate the fresh and highly flavorful vegetables of Hokkaido.
For more details, check out their Web site at http://www.niseko-gp.com/index01.html
To purchase Niseko Beer for delivery anywhere in Japan, please order by phone.
Niseko Beer / Higashiyama Eggshell
27 Kogen Higashiyama, NIseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido 048-1521
Phone: (0136) 44-3393
Fax: (0136) 44-2360
Note: Before visiting, confirm opening hours by phone.