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In many parts of the world, craft beer is getting more and more popular. In fact, it is quite common nowadays to go visit touristic places and find out that their inhabitants proudly make the promotion of their locally produced beer! Yatsugatake, in the rural region of Kiyosato, in Hokuto city, is no exception here.

Kiyosato is known to be an area that developed under the patronage of Paul Rusch, an Anglican missionary from Kentucky, the United States. He most notably contributed to the expansion of the region in the 1940s by building a farm and other infrastructures. Even today, one can see this American influence in the architecture of the well-preserved buildings, or the food served in the local restaurants that showcase the high-class meat from Kiyosato.

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Today, we are going to Moegi no Mura and more specifically, to the restaurant ROCK, which is an established institution in the region. Funaki Joji, who founded the restaurant 50 years ago, decided to add a brewery in 1997. Finding inspiration in Paul Rusch’s pioneer spirit, he wanted to create craft beers that would be typically Japanese, in a country where only a small minority consumes hops-flavored beverages. And this is how Yatsugatake Brewery was born.

ROCK2It was very important to Yamada Kazumi, the first craft brewer at the head of the brewery, to make a quality beer that would match the Japanese taste. This is the reason why he went all the way to Germany to try and find some of the best ingredients. German beer’s uniqueness resides in its simplicity: no added preservatives, only barley, hops and water. This model served as a reference for Yatsugatake Brewery in its quest for the best flavor.
 
Thus, the company carefully selects the ingredients and their provenance: the yeast is imported from Germany, the barley from Germany and Canada, the hops from Germany and Czech Republic. Water is furthermore an essential element to make a good alcoholic beverage, as its quality can even change the taste of the final product. This is something that companies such as Suntory and Hakushu are well-aware of when making use of the clear waters of Hakushu to produce their whisky and sake respectively.
 
Here, Yatsugatake pristine and good quality water gives a refreshing aftertaste to the Pilsner, Dunkel, and other beers from the Yatsugatake Brewery.

 

 

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Talking about freshness, the specificity of craft beer is that most of the time, it is not filtered, which means that the beer does not go through an extra filtration process before bottle conditioning, allowing the yeast to remain in the beer. Yatsugatake beer is no exception; this is why it is necessary to keep your beer in a chilled place, and drink it within three months after you purchased it. You will feel as if you’re drinking the beer straight from the cask!

Yatsugatake Brewery’s creations won several awards as proofs of their quality, including:
- International Beer Cup 2015: 1st place for the Premium Bock in the Bock Category
- World Beer Awards 2016: 1st place for the Kiyosato Lager in the Rice-based beer category
- International Beer Cup 2017: Gold medal for the Weiss (white beer) in the Weizen category

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Copper brew kettles in the restaurant

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To accompany your beer tasting, is there a better option than the beef curry that makes the reputation of the restaurant in the whole region? The serving is generous, and only local ingredients are being used. Besides, a piece of dried fruit butter… and jam come as toppings. It is a rather uncommon sweet and savory mix, but I thought that it was perfectly enhancing the curry’s deep flavor.

When I left the restaurant with my stomach full of that comforting curry and delicious, locally made beer, I thought that ROCK and Yatsugatake Brewery are definitely must-go spots for craft beer amateurs!

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Access information

Moegi no Mura is located only 2h away from Shinjuku via Chuo expressway.

If you are coming by train, take a limited express train bound for Matsumoto, get off at Kobuchizawa to transfer to the Koumi Line, and take a train to Kiyosato. From there, Moegi no Mura is a 10-minute walk (total: about 2h30).

You can easily spend the whole day at Moegi no Mura: shopping, lunch at restaurant ROCK; walks through the forest, visit of the Music Boxes Museum, whisky tasting at Bar Perch… Surely, you will find an activity that suits your tastes. Spending a night at the hotel Hut Walden, that provides lovely rooms literally a few footsteps away from ROCK, is definitely a good option after you’ve had dinner!

Adress: Yamanashi-ken, Hokuto-shi, Takane-cho, Kiyosato 3545 Moegi no Mura 407-0301
Phone number: 055-148-2521
Website( External link )

Published on

  • March 8, 2021

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