After a day of visiting the various sea ice related sights of the town we decided it was time to drink some of it! We then headed to the Abashiri Brewery restaurant ‘Yakiniku’ - literally "Grilled Meat" in Japanese - where we got a cook-it-yourself on the table top meal of beef short rib and much famed Hokkaido King Spider Crab.
This format is a Japanese classic; where raw meats and dipping sauces are brought to the table for you to barbecue yourself in a grill recessed into the table top. The quality of the meat and seafood was amazing. The star attraction however was the beer: Abashiri Brewery does a selection brightly and strangely colored beers.
Firstly, there is the Okhotsk Drift Ice Blue, a startling bright sky blue color which your brain tells you should definitely taste of fake-chemical raspberry, but actually is a very fine lager made from Abashiri’s famous drift ice – my favorite.
Then we had the Potato Pink which is very mellow and doesn’t have any bitter taste like beer normally does. There is the Shirotoko Draft green beer that tasted of slightly of green tea which might be better to focus on than knowing it is made from golf ball-like green algae that grow in the crystal clear waters of lakes in Hokkaido. Last but not least, was the Hanamatsu pink beer that tasted like flower petals, and was also a rather fetching pink.
But don’t worry if all that tasting the rainbow sounds awful; the Abashiri Draft is a good, traditional golden Pilzner that is also great.
The décor inside of the restaurant continues the beer theme and has some large shining brass vessels responsible for the bizarre hued brews and is warm and inviting, as were the staff - who are more than familiar with peoples astonished reactions to the drinks, and happy to help with recommendations.
After a wonderful meal, both fun and delicious, we returned back to our hotel in the frozen night air happily wrapped in our Technicolor beer coats.
The restaurant itself is easy to find; being on the same main street as the rail station and about 3 minutes’ walk toward the harbor and it has a large English sign. While certainly not the cheapest option, it is certainly excellent value and a wonderful experience. The cost of the meal is largely dictated by how many and what quality cuts you order.