From taproom to in-room ‘kegerator,’ unique Shizuoka hotel caters to craft beer lovers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A guest is served a drink in the taproom of The Villa & Barrel Lounge Mochimune.

SHIZUOKA — With a mini-keg of an exclusive brew in each guest room and a taproom that opens early in the morning, The Villa & Barrel Lounge Mochimune has created an ideal environment for beer lovers.

The boutique hotel opened in July across from West Coast Brewing (WCB) in Shizuoka City’s Mochimune district.

WCB, the operator of the hotel, was founded by American architect Derrek Buston, who is the brewery’s owner and managing director. Wanting to enjoy a wide variety of craft beers in Japan just like in the United States, Buston started brewing in the city’s Suruga Ward in 2019. The brewery specializes in flavorful beers with plenty of hops, and more than 170 kinds are available.

The idea of opening a hotel came up when the brewery took over a building that once housed a restaurant across the street. A crowdfunding campaign was started, and fans across Japan donated about ¥14 million to raise funds for renovating the structure.

Each of the hotel’s five rooms is equipped with a “kegerator” — a portmanteau of keg and refrigerator — from which guests can taste exclusive brews. Up to 10 liters of beer are available from the all-you-can-drink in-room tap, and anything remaining can be taken home in a growler. In addition, eight kinds of craft beers are available in the room’s mini-fridge for purchase, so guests can compare various beers.

A taproom is located on the first floor in the lobby, and it is open from the morning for non-guests as well.

About 10 brews are on tap along with well-paired food. Customers can also sample not-for-sale beers aged in wooden barrels.

A beer theme is also reflected in the hotel’s interior design. The yellow hue of beer and blue of Suruga Bay are used in the color schemes for the guest rooms’ walls, while beer labels are used as decorations.

A room with an all-you-can-drink kegerator costs ¥19,800 or more per night. Room rates vary depending on the season, among other factors. A room can accommodate up to four people.

Courtesy of West Coast Brewing
A guest room at the inn

The inn has been popular among people from and outside Shizuoka Prefecture since it opened on July 1 and is almost fully booked in August.

“Known as a ‘craft beer powerhouse,’ Shizuoka Prefecture is home to an increasing number of breweries recently,” said Erika Mochizuki, WCB’s public relations official. “We hope beer will bring people more opportunities to learn about the attractions of the Mochimune district and Shizuoka City.”