"Hop Picking in Furano" A helping hand for Sapporo beer!

A while ago during the hot summer days, on August 25 this year, we went hop picking in Furano!
After meeting at 8am at Sapporo Station’s North Entrance, we departed and immediately distributed Sapporo Black Label beers to everyone while chef Horigawa, of Sapporo’s Trattoria/Pizzeria Terzina, led us in a toast.
Before long, we arrived at Sapporo Beer’s research center in Kami Furano.  There, our tour members were divided into three groups and we had a hop-picking contest.  Of course the yield, taken from Furano’s rare hops, was used to flavor a batch of Sapporo’s “Hokkaido Premium.” 
In the hop yard, we could actually see, touch, and smell the hops used for Sapporo’s Yebisu and Classic labels. Everyone was enjoying themselves so much.  One excited couple even took pictures with some of the researchers.  
It was a lot of hard work, but the refreshing cool breeze filled with the scent of hops and the beautiful blue Hokkaido sky was perfect.  This is where Sapporo’s limited-release “Sapporo Classic 2012 Furano Vintage” beer, released earlier this week, was born. 
While in Kami Furano we went for lunch at Furano Grill, located at the Studio Museum of Goto Sumio, a famous Japanese watercolorist. We stuffed ourselves with a lunch of Hokkaido-grown potatoes, kabocha squash, broccoli and hamburger steak.  For dessert, we basked in the restaurants view of clear blue skies and the beautiful Hokkaido scenery.
After lunch, we were so full that we just had to get up and move, so we went to harvest some corn and potatoes too!
We sure felt exhausted after all that harvesting.  We couldn’t possibly do anything else…or so we thought!  We had one more special event before the day was over.  So we gathered up our strength for one last stop at…
…the Sapporo Beer Garden!  We ended our day by visiting the Beer Museum and enjoying some Genghis Khan BBQ and beer (Genghis Khan stands for a Japanese BBQ which uses lamb and some vegetables such as pumpkin and bean sprouts. Please refer to picture below.).  If there is one great way to finish an adventure in Hokkaido, it’s with Genghis Khan!
Soon the snow will begin to fall in Hokkaido.  But, while we’re cozy and warm at home this winter, we’ll surely enjoy reminiscing about this summer’s adventure over some nice cold Sapporo Classic 2012 Furano Vintage beers.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer – Takako Chiba)
(Photography by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer – Megane)