Hop Kotan, Hokkaido’s Brewing Gem

Deep in the picturesque hills of Kami-Furano, Hokkaido, lies a passionate craft brewery – Hop Kotan Brewing. Opened in 2018, this local gem quickly caught my attention, especially due to its proximity to my childhood home. While initially disappointed by the lack of a local taproom (there’s a remote taproom Beer Kotan in Sapporo), the opportunity for a personal tour from the owner brewer Tsutsumino-san was an unexpected delight.

What truly sets Hop Kotan apart is its unwavering commitment to local ingredients. Each brew is infused with the spirit of Hokkaido, thanks to their exclusive use of hops grown nearby in Furano farms. Currently, their focus lies on the Cascade hop, but that’s just the beginning. Exciting collaborations with local farmers are underway to develop new hop strains, promising future beers bursting with the essence of Furano.

The Owner Brewer Takayuki Tsutsumino (Left) and Me (Right)

The soul of Hop Kotan lies in a beautiful, albeit slightly weathered, brewhouse system. Acquired from another brewery, this veteran workhorse embodies Tsutsumino-san’s dedication to craft. He keeps it humming along despite its occasional quirks, demonstrating the ingenuity and resourcefulness at the heart of Hop Kotan.

While currently a production facility, Tsutsumino-san’s vision for the future is expansive. He dreams of a new facility that can accommodate a larger brewhouse, more tanks, and most importantly, a welcoming taproom. This wouldn’t just be about expanding production; it’s about creating a space where the community can gather, share stories, and celebrate the art of craft beer.

Of course, challenges in the form of accessibility and strict DUI laws cannot be ignored. Yet, Tsutsumino-san remains undeterred by these obstacles. He believes that the shared joy of a good beer can bridge any gap, and that’s a vision I find truly inspiring.

While the clinking of glasses in a future taproom may not yet be heard, the passion, dedication, and love for local craft brewing are already brewing something special at Hop Kotan. So, I raise a glass to their commitment, their innovative spirit, and the exciting journey that lies ahead. Kanpai!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top