By Andrew Woo
For those unfamiliar with Japanese beers, Sapporo Beer is one of the major brands. In Natori, a 20 minute ride by train from Sendai, there is the Sapporo Beer Factory. The Factory features a unique restaurant where patrons can not only drink freshly made beer, but can also eat one of Hokkaido's specialties, Ghengis Khan. Ghengis Khan? You mean, like the famous Mongolian War Lord? That's right. Ghengis khan (Jengis kan would be how you pronounced it in katakana) is lamb and veggies that are cooked on a cone shaped barbeque that looks a lot like, (you guessed it!) Ghengis Khan's hat! Or, maybe you didn't guess it.
Regardless of the strange name, Ghengis Khan is usually not found outside of Hokkaido, and this tasty dish can be had at the Sapporo Beer En with fresh beer to boot! If you really love lamb, or you just like cooking your own food and having a fun taste of European-inspired Japanese design, head on over. Sendai Beer En doesn't have the funny shaped hats, but it is still a lot of fun to cook your own food before dipping it in sauce and getting it fresh off the grill.
The costs for an all-you-can-drink and all-you-can-eat set are pretty pricey. But with the two hour time limit, you're certain to get enough food to feed you inner warlord, and enough delicious beer to satisfy it, too! The beer is fresh, right from the factory, and the Beer En boasts lots of more difficult to find on tap beers that Sapporo makes. So any Japanese beer lover would be pleased at the wide selection.
If you order the all-you-can-eat, then you choose your meat and they will keep bringing it to you if you ask for more within your time limit. The same goes for vegetables and beer, if you had happened to choose the all-you-can-drink option as well. Since the combinations turn out to be pretty pricey the Beer En also takes credit cards so you can splurge a little if you would like to. But remember, after you've eaten your fill, you may have to roll yourself out of the door!
In addition to the pricey dinner options, cheaper lunch options with two onigiri and an already decided amount of vegetables and meat can also be ordered if you go during lunch time. This special lunch set is going to cost about 1500 yen, so if you want to sample some of the beers, it would be best to buy them a la carte if you are budget minded.
The Beer En is about a one minute walk from Natori Station and makes a unique dining experience for anyone in the area. So I encourage you to check it out! There are no brewery tours at this Sapporo factory. However, if you are looking for such an option, the Sendai Kirin Brewery should be on your beer agenda.
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