When Gareth Burns, a 32-year-old from Philadelphia, decided to start a brewery up in Tohoku, the most northern region of Honshu, he didn’t take it easy. He jumped right in and bought a building for the brewery with the taproom upstairs. He then purchased a nearby farm to grow fresh vegetables for the taproom’s restaurant and hops for brewing.
It seems like a monumental effort, but Gareth seems to be taking it in stride, having curiously named his new enterprise “Be Easy Brewing.” Yet, for Gareth and local craft beer enthusiasts in Hirosaki, the hard work is paying off.
While a relative newcomer to the craft beer scene, only recently opening in early 2017, the brewery isn’t taking it easy. Customers from nearly half of Japan are already buying beer from Be Easy. So far, Gareth’s brewing successes include two Pale Ales, two Wheat Ales and an Oatmeal Stout, along with a Wheat IPA, a cloudy New England-style Double IPA and a lighter Session IPA.
Be Easy beers have already gained a great reputation. Phred Kaufman, beer importer and operator of the famed Mugishu-tei beer bar in Sapporo, has strong praise for Be Easy. The beers have been served regularly at Beer Club Popeye in Ryogoku, which has particularly high standards set by pioneering owner Aoki-san, who is also a brewer in his own right and operates Strange Brewing in Niigata.
At the Be Easy farms, Gareth is currently growing hops, with plans to use them in wet hop and fresh hop beers when they mature. Also growing are edamame, asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and more for use in the taproom, which, according to Gareth, is the only craft beer pub in Aomori Prefecture. It is just a few minutes by taxi from Hirosaki Station in the direction of the Matsugae post office and there are a few parking spots available. Call or visit their website to find out what’s on tap at Be Easy.
Be Easy Brewing Company
5-7-9 Matsugae, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori-ken
5–11 p.m. daily