The hugely popular Sapporo Bier Garten and Beer Museum (サッポロビール博物館) stands just east of the city centre. It was an American adviser to Hokkaidō who noted the hops growing locally and realized that with its abundant winter ice Sapporo was the ideal location for a commercial brewery. When the first brewery opened in 1876, locals didn’t touch beer, so for years Sapporo exported to the foreign community in Tokyo, which is where the company’s headquarters are now.
Built in 1891, this grand red-brick complex was originally the factory of the Sapporo Sugar Company; it’s now Sapporo’s smallest brewery since much of the building has been turned over to an exhibition on the brewing process and the history of the company, not to mention several restaurants, pubs and souvenir shops. At the end of the exhibition, while sipping beer samples (one for ¥200, three for ¥400), you can admire a wall coated with a century’s worth of colourful ad posters.
Bus #88 runs every 30 minutes directly to the complex (¥200) from behind Tōkyū department store, near Sapporo Station. The bus goes via the Sapporo Factory, Kita 2, Higashi 4, the first of Sapporo’s breweries in the city, converted in 1993 into a shopping and entertainment complex.