Beer in Niseko – a comprehensive guide
You have made it to town.
You’ve skied. You had a wonderful day. Naturally, you are thirsty and you’ve necked some golden lager beer in Niseko and loved it. Nothing better.
But maybe you find yourself wanting to seek out something different - you want more from your beer in Niseko. You might like to contemplate the majestic dark beauty of a stout, or confound your senses with the hoppy onrush of an IPA. Or you may wonder why people like sour beers...I do. That is part of the joy of drinking full-flavoured craft beers whether you like them or not. They make you pause, they put you in the moment and there is that wonderful moment of contemplation when I would argue that all is well in the world.
Wherever you are staying in the area, this article helps you find the beer in Niseko of a more contemplative nature.
It is about the places that you might find something with some colour, a bit of hop, a bit of depth, some more burnt malt, something for your taste buds to get interested in, something to think about as you drink as you try to identify why you like it or why you would not order it again.
In this article, you will be able to find all the places in the area that offer a wider range of beer including the local supermarkets and shops. Please note this article is evolving and we welcome new suggestions for places for inclusion. Please let us know if you can be considered a great place for beer lovers.
Summary list and locations:
1. Niseko Taproom (Hirafu)
2. Niseko Taphouse/Niseko Brewing (Niseko Town)
3. Mick's Bar (Hirafu)
4. Rusutsu Sakaba (Rusutsu)
Supermarkets and Shops
1. Lucky (Kutchan)
2. M Pocket (Kutchan)
This will likely be the most accessible bar for enjoying craft beers in the area, being located in a wonderful spot right in the heart of the resort. Enjoying our 3rd season in Odin Place in the very heart of Hirafu, Taproom has always provided a showcase for Hokkaido Beer. The Taproom always has several beers from Niseko Beer which are our core range and these generally include Belgain Ale, Pale Ale, IPA and Porter. Then there are further offerings from Otaru Beer, Onuma Beer, North Island, Obihiro, Hop Kotan, and the Taproom is always looking for more. Standard size beers are 750 Yen and the large size is 1300 Yen.
Niseko Taphouse/Niseko Brewing
Located on a side street in Niseko Town, you could not be blamed for walking straight past the brewery located in a modest former government chamber of commerce building. Inside though, after you pass by the brewing works to your right you make your way up the stairs and then you are greeted by a little treasure for beer lovers.
The bar / restaurant is a cool little space with quite wonderful views back over Niseko Train Station towards Mount Annupuri, the ski mountain that is Niseko. The Niseko Taphouse also known as Niseko Brewing serves a variety of fresh beer. You can get great brews here including the classic line up: Pilsner, Belgian Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, and Porter.
Occasionally there is also Oyster Stout. This is a rare beast but a must try if you see it in stock. It has the essence of oysters in it from the nearby coastal town of Suttsu.
Niseko Brewing often produce some limited rin beers such as Powderlife Pale Ale, an apple beer, and more. These are generally only available at the brewery itself.
The big news is that it has rather a marvellous jukebox and everyone will appreciate the rather classic line up including Bowie, Queen, Chicago and Nina with 99 Red Balloons.
Mick is passionate about all things alcohol and although he is primarily a wine man he has quite a tantalising selection of beer to try in bottles and a couple of taps including right now a pale ale. Mick's is a local institution and definitely worth a detour.
What beers does he do?
Shiga Kogen: IPA , Pale Ale All ¥800 Noboribetsu: Pilnser & Pale Ale ¥800 Kokage: Helles & Pilsner all ¥850 Ise Kadoya Brewery’s : Pale Ale, Golden Dragon Pale Ale & Lush Hop India Pale Ale All 900 yen Angelo Japanese Brewing Co. Nozawa Black 1000 yen & IPA 900 yen
Tap beers: Classic 700 yen
On at present : 爽秋ペールエール
(Sousyu Pale ale) ¥1,000
Something like the cousin of Niseko Taproom, Rusutsu Sakaba opened in the winter of 2018/19. With a superb location in the centre of town next to Seicomart, it is poised to provide visitors with a great beer experience and be the go to place for excellent beer in Rusutsu. Great food too.
Lucky is rather an excellent spot for picking up some tasty beer. Conveniently displayed in one of its bulk ends, it is nice to see a few unusual ones here. Rather than me list them all down, a recent photo of all their stock is provided below. I would highlight:
The Coedo range - very successful Japanese beer brand that have expanded into Asia. The red label is particularly good in my view. You can't buy these anywhere else in the area to my knowledge.
Yona Yona - for me this is one of the most important beers in Japan in that it introduced a new colour and flavour to the market. It is relatively easy to find this all over Japan now but this was not always the case.
J-Craft - this is a big Japanese corporate, Mitsubishi, putting in a genuine effort to come up with some craft beer for the nation. The beers are made by various brewers and then labelled under the J-Craft brand. I read that the Pale Ale for example is made by Baird Brewing. Worth sampling these.
More info at Beer Tengoku: https://beertengoku.com/2017/04/21/j-craft-beers/
We will be adding other places as we find them. M-Pocket will be added shortly and we are seeking out any other havens for beer drinkers in the area.
While you are in Niseko, please seek out and try some of the delightful brews we have here. It can even be a nice way to spend the afternoon even if you are not skiing. Please share any new discoveries about beer in Niseko and we will happily add them to our list here.
Hope you enjoy the beer!