The Japanese city of Sapporo is located on the island of Hokkaido. Until 1857, when the Japanese first began settling around the Sapporo area, the island was mostly populated by native Ainu, whose language has given the city its name. The Japanese government commissioned German and American advisors to lay out the new city. One American who noticed the hops growing wild amid the winter ice, realized how perfectly the place was suited for beer brewing. The Japanese took it from there. The Sapporo Brewery, established in 1876, also includes the Sapporo Beer Garden and the Sapporo Beer Museum, and attracts 1,500,000 visitors a year. Sapporo’s Summer Festival in July and August features outdoor beer gardens all up and down the Odori-koen, the park cutting through the city’s center, bringing a bit of Bavarian flavor to the Far East.
The brewing methods used by Unibroue have been inspired by the great European brewing traditions and, in this respect, are one of a kind in North America. The methods used stand out, in particular, from the brewing methods of the mass-producing breweries and even from the other North American craft brewers because the beer is refermented in bottles and partly-clarified only. Through these methods, specialty beers with an evolutive taste and a long shelf life are produced. The manufacturing of the beer at Unibroue is done in five phases: brewing, fermentation, clarification, bottling and kegging and, finally, refermentation in bottles in the holding room.