Yatsugatake Beer and their brewpub, named simply “ROCK,” are nestled near the foot of the mountain area known as Yatsugatake, in Kiyosato Town in Yamanashi Prefecture, just across the border from Nagano. This makes it an ideal place to stop in to eat and drink after outdoor activities throughout the year.
Opening in 1997, the brewery makes German-style beers, though they have given the name Yatsugatake Touchdown Frontier Beer to their year-round line. Pilsener is their lightest; crisp and refreshing. Kiyosato Lager is similar but somewhat heavier with a touch more bitterness.
The Dunkel is a German-style amber lager with a muted caramel flavor in the background. If it is a cold day, the beer you may like best is the Rock Bock, a rich and hearty darker lager with a hefty 7% alcohol. Not as massive is the Alt, a 5.5% German-style dark amber ale brewed in the fall and winter seasons.
Overall, the beers are clean, well-balanced and dangerously drinkable, thanks to brewmaster Kazumi Yamada, a lager beer specialist who joined the small brewery after 40 years at Kirin.
Not surprisingly, the food is also largely in the German style, centering on sausages, meat and potato dishes, together with pizza, pasta and salads. On the way out, you can drop by the gift shop where Yatsugatake Beer, a huge variety of sausages and prepared meats and all kinds of local products are sold for home delivery.
The ROCK brewpub is a seven-minute walk from Kiyosato Station, the closest to Yatsugatake and just under three hours from Shinjuku Station.