Highly Recommended as Souvenirs! 5 Alcoholic Beverages in Hokkaido
Liquor is probably one of the things you want to try when you travel because it will let you enjoy the tastes and flavors that reflect the climate, soil and water of your travel destination. Here are five of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Hokkaido that you have to try or get a hold of if you ever visit that region.
1. Hokkaido Beer Pirkawakka
This craft beer bears a name which means “beautiful water” - Pirkawakka. This beer is brewed using high-quality water from the springs of Chitose, which is one of the 100 Best Natural Waters in Japan, as well as malt, hop and yeast. It is a draft beer with live beer yeast since it does not go through excessive filtration and heat treatment in order to extend its expiration date.
This beer has a lineup of four types of beer, including the Pilsner that won the silver prize at the Asia Beer Cup 2015, and the fruity white beer called “Weizen.” Each of these beers is easy to drink with a refreshing taste and robust body.
Sample price: 6-bottle set (3,200 JPY (incl. tax))
2. Hascup Fruit Wine
Hascup Fruit Wine is a popular fruit wine made from honeysuckle, which is well known as a specialty fruit of Hokkaido. It is packed with Vitamin C, anthocyanin, calcium and other nutrients.
Using blue honeysuckle as its raw ingredient, the Hascup Fruit Wine suppresses the alcohol content to give it a bittersweet, fruity finish. Its slightly sweet taste has been getting favorable reviews, making it the perfect aperitif and hot wine. This wine has also been recognized in the “Chitose Tourist Association’s Recommended Souvenirs,” and in the “Hokkaido High-Grade Food Selection +2015.”
Sample price: 720ml (1,430 JPY (incl. tax)), 360ml (790 JPY (incl. tax))
3. Otaru Tokusen Campbell Early (Red)
Otaru Tokusen Campbell Early (Red) is a famous red wine that won the bronze award at the Japan Wine Competition 2016. This wine is distilled from Campbell Early, a type of black grapes that is widely popular in Hokkaido as a dessert grape thanks to its rich aroma and bittersweet taste.
Otaru Tokusen Campbell Early (Red) is brewed through the so-called freeze-brewing method that can only be expected in Hokkaido. Under this method, the squeezed juice from the grapes is made to freeze in the intense cold climate of the region. Thereafter, the icy parts are carefully removed by hand, and the juice that is about half condensed is left with the strong, lingering sweet and delicious flavors of grapes, giving it a bold and deep taste. It is a sweet kind of wine that is easy to drink, so it is also recommended chilled as dessert wine!
Price: 720ml (2,376 JPY (incl. tax))
Otaru Tokusen Campbell Early (Red)
Tank covered with snow
4. Single Malt Yoichi
Single Malt Yoichi is a famous single malt whisky all over Japan. The Yoichi area, where its distillery is located, is a place that is surrounded by the sea and mountains, with a frigid climate, rich water sources, and fresh, humid air that are said to be similar to the environmental conditions in Scotland.
The creation of this whisky adopts the direct coal-fired brewing process that is rarely used around the world, so the unblended whisky that is characterized by increased mellowness from the slow aging process has a solid taste that is both rich and strong. You will enjoy its warm oak sweetness and smoky taste as your mouth is flooded with a firm peaty sensation, the aroma of malt, and the fruity flavor that resembles that of an orange.
Sample price: 700ml (4,200 JPY (excl. tax))
5. Niagara Shibaredukuri Hakodate Wine
Niagara Shibaredukuri is a dessert wine that bagged the bronze award at the Japan Wine Competition. It is a sweet white wine that has gained popularity for its fruity sensation that tastes just like grapes, and its being easy to drink.
This wine only uses completely ripe Niagara grapes grown in Hokkaido, which have a distinctively rich smell. It adopts a brewing process wherein the juice is extracted after being frozen in an environment that closely resembles nature. As a result, the juice components are concentrated, giving you a somewhat different kind of sweetness, acidity and a lovely aroma.
Price: 720ml (2,916 JPY (incl. tax))
The alcoholic drinks featured in this article are available not only in wineries and breweries/distilleries, but also at liquor shops in Hokkaido, restaurants, New Chitose Airport and other establishments. Make sure to check them out!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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