“KAMIYAMA BEER” is located in a quiet area of the country.
The town of Kamiyama is located in the north-eastern side of Tokushima Prefecture.
This town used to be a quiet, rural place – however, it is now attracting people’s attention.
Many IT companies from large cities have satellite offices here. As many people have moved in from outside, attractive shops, restaurants, bakeries, etc.,have opened in this town.
This small brewery is obviously one of the attractive spots in Kamiyama. It was opened by a married couple who moved here from the Netherlands.
The outer wall of the “KAMIYAMA BEER” building is covered by a huge artwork over 6 meters high.
This brewery is gathering attention from not only local people, but also from tourists who are visiting Kamiyama.
Sweeney Manus and Sayaka Abe are running “KAMIYAMA BEER.”
Sweeney is from Ireland, whose stout beer and pub culture is well-known. He has created many promotion videos for artists and companies as a videographer.
He also had a career traveling all over the world while working for United Nations.
Sayaka, Sweeney’s wife, is an energetic artist who does paintings, installations, and so on.
The big artwork on the outer wall of this brewery was made by her.
Sweeney and Sayaka used to live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, before coming here.
They were connected to Kamiyama Town because of the “Kamiyama Artist in Residence” program in 2013.
Since then, they fell in love with the atmosphere of the town and people’s spirit of “why don’t you do what you want.” They ended up coming to visit Kamiyama repeatedly.
Making beer which has roots in the land of Kamiyama
Sweeney had brewed beer in Amsterdam in the past, but there was a long way to go before opening the brewery in Kamiyama.
Building the brewery in a place which used to be a sudachi and yuzu field, installing electricity, having water pipes laid, and importing the brewing tanks from Canada…
He had to struggle with doing a lot of paperwork, and raised funds by using crowdfunding.
The concept of the two-storied wooden building was designed by Manus’s friends, who are artists in the Netherlands.It was built by carpenters in Kamiyama.
Because of this, the atmosphere of the building is a kind of unique, blending both Japanese and Western styles.
It is worth it to have craft beer on the 2nd floor terrace on a sunny day.
Sweeney is always thinking about how he can make craft beer which can be brewed only here, by using ingredients from Kamiyama, and integrating Kamiyama tastes into a traditional European or American style beer.
A place where various people can connect with each other
Now, let’s introduce the craft beer from KAMIYAMA BEER with beautifully designed labels by Sayaka.
“SHIWA SHIWA ALE” on the left in the picture is made from wheat of the local (Kamiyama) variety.
“Shiwa shiwa” means “slowly” or “easily” in the dialect used in Tokushima.
Next is “DAY DREAM”, a fruity IPA made with citrus fruits from Kamiyama. Its hops and flavor differs from season to season.
“BARLEY MOON,” in the center, has a rich aroma and the slight bitterness of Belgian malt and American hops. Its freshness is its strong point.
“WOODLANDER” is an extra stout made from old plum trees.
Its sweet aroma and its mild taste give it a coffee flavor, and it is good for drinking as a desert beer.
The one at the right end is the seasonal “CINDERELLA” which appeared in October 2018.
Its unique and delicious flavor was created from the barley malt and smoked with peat and figs from Kamiyama.
The tap room is open on weekends provides some snacks for beer.
I highly recommend that you try a “Tosti,” a toasted sandwich which is now very popular in the Netherlands.
The Tosti in the picture is has Emmental cheese, prosciutto, and green pepper.
The ingredients are changed from time to time, so you might like to visit there again to try different kinds of Tosti.
Sweeney and Sayaka believe that “Toasts connect the world,” which means that tasty beers can help people to connect to other people.
So they hope “KAMIYAMA BEER” will become a place for all kinds of people to meet one another.
We are looking forward to seeing the further evolution of “KAMIYAMA BEER!”
These original craft beers can definitely make good souvenirs for your family and friends!
Address／280-1, Nishi-Uetsuno, Jinryo, Kamiyama-cho, Myozai-gun, Tokushima
Open／Tap room 12:00-20:00 on Saturday and Sunday (you can also buy bottled beer on weekdays, if the staff is in the brewery.)
Photographs and text by Takashi Shigeto
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