Friday, 19 May 2023

New inclusion and posting criteria

This is a quick post to go some way towards explaining my reasons for including or excluding places on here. This post should hopefully remain at the top so if it's posts about bars you're after, scroll down. Going forward, the following will get full write ups as soon as I get round to visiting them:

- Breweries
- Bars and beer shops that are either great, good, ok or in some way unique or interesting.

Bars that are not so exciting or that I have a problem with (and I’m happy to acknowledge that the problem is mine), will probably feature on one of the digest posts. Usually these are to collect places that I haven’t visited yet, but now I’ll also put places I’ve been to that aren’t very good on there too. On the map, unvisited places will be marked with a question mark so you take your chances by going to one of these. All visited places will now have the appropriate coloured pin and be linked to the appropriate post, so if you see a pin and it goes to a digest post, it’s not really a recommendation. I'd always encourage you, if you're finding places on here through the map to actually check out the post linked to the pin in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Favourites will still be marked with a star and also feature in the top group of places in the map notes. Inevitably, there are some places that probably aren’t worthy of a full post in here that already have full posts. I’m not going to remove these posts and put them on the digest post as I can’t be bothered to! The content of the post should give you an idea anyway. Hope all this helps!

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Tamsang Tokyo x Craft Beer Bar Taptime

Tamsang Tokyo x Craft Beer Bar Taptime is the slightly unwieldy name of the new branch of Taptime which was formerly in Umegaoka and has now moved along the Odakyu line to Yoyogi Hachiman. It’s not only the name that has changed though. There is a very different feel to the new bar and a bigger beer list. Previously it was a cosy little bar with low lighting and seemed to be a locals place. Now it’s bigger, brighter and seems to be attracting a quite different clientele, partly I guess, due to the location, and partly due to the theme. Here’s what you need to know.

- Bright and open space, with counter seats for seven and a maybe seating for about the same at some kind of wall bench seats (haven’t described that very well, have I?). Looks like there is a patio too. The theme of the place is apparently ‘Craft Beer, Thai Coffee and Art’. This is reflected in some goods that seem to be for sale at the front of the bar which seem to fall loosely into the latter two categories. We visited quite late on a Friday night and the atmosphere was quite different from the previous location. The counter was full, people were in high spirits and music was playing. Seemed to be a bit of a party feeling.
- Seems to have 16 taps, although some of the spots on the tap list were filled with Thai cocktails. 13 of the 16 spaces were beers though with a decent mix of Japanese breweries, (some of which I prefer significantly to others, but I’ll leave you to work out which ones are which), and some of which are very fashionable right now. It’s a bit pricy, I guess in line with the location. The beer was served in two sizes and the glassware was an unusual shape, but I think the sizes were probably in the usual US pint, UK half range. The smaller size ranged from ¥800-¥1000 and the larger from ¥1100-¥1380. They do a beer flight for (I think) ¥1450 but not sure about number or glasses, serving size or if you can choose. There are also bottles available but I didn’t see a list or prices. Bit useless, aren't I?
- There was no cover charge and the place is no smoking. Although the hours are a little vague at the moment, they are sometimes open during the day. Check the photo of the monthly hours on twitter. I couldn’t find wifi though.

So, all a bit vague from me. Sorry about that. This is probably the first place in Yoyogi Hachiman solely devoted to craft beer and I think that is reflected a bit in the prices, which are a slightly off-putting. As I said above, the tap list is quite interesting, with a few interesting breweries. I’m not sure the upbeat atmosphere is completely for me, as I tend to be a bit of a party-pooper, but I’d imagine it’s not quite so full on earlier in the evening and on a weeknight. At the moment, the facebook page seems to be a bit of a mix of both the previous location and the new one, right down to the address which seems to be a mix. It’s still early days though, so perhaps by the time you read this they will have updated it. (There's a new facebook page. I'm a dummy, sorry). It’s a welcome addition to the area though and I guess I’ll pop in from time to time.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:

Ise Kadoya

Daisen G

Opening Hours:

Best check their twitter where they post a photo of the month's opening hours as the hours seem to change week by week.
富ヶ谷 1-7-9, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

050-3574-3466 (maybe. This hasn't changed from the previous branch, so might not be right)


Saturday, 27 July 2019

Grow Brew House

Post by Mothy
Grow Brew House is a small brewpub located a short walk from Nishi Kawaguchi station. The interior is small and unimpressive, offering standing room at the counter in the main room, and some old and uncomfortable looking folding tables and chairs in a room in the back. The main room with the counter seems to be where everyone gathers. It fits about eight people at the bar with maybe enough room for the same amount of people to stand without tables. It's a true small-scale operation.

They opened in, I believe, January of this year, and began serving their own beer at the end of May. I've been there a few times now and though none of their beers are going to be winning any awards anytime soon, I haven't had anything from them I'd call truly undrinkable yet, which hasn't been the case with a lot of breweries when they're this new to the business. I've noticed a couple of their beers have already improved so it will be interesting to see if they can make further improvements. The brewer seems pretty knowledgeable about beer, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

The beers come in three sizes, with the largest being a US pint- I think. I didn't ask and just eyeball tested it. (Sizes now confirmed as 473ml, 284ml and 160ml). The prices for their own beer are ¥1000/650/350. They have six taps with most featuring their own beer. Guest beers run a bit more expensive, ranging as high as ¥1300/900/500. Which for domestic craft is pretty expensive in my opinion. Guest taps first time I was there were Ushitora and Chichibu. Second time they had Be Easy and Shiga Kogen. It's pay as you go, which I like as I can more easily ignore the cost of my beer drinking when I'm not hit with the tabulated bill all at once. (UPDATE: They also do take away beers)

Some other details about the place: It's non-smoking, but there isn't a designated smoking area, and since it's Nishi Kawaguchi people just smoked on the street right outside, and at least this time of year with windows and doors being kept open, the smoke would get inside when that happened. But the clientele didn't seem to be heavy smokers so it didn't happen often, so I'm only mentioning it to warn those extra sensitive about smoke. They only serve snacks, but they allow you to bring in outside foods. The staff is friendly, and although they don't speak English, they have no problem with me using my mangled Japanese on them. No wi-fi at this time.
Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Grow Brew House
Be Easy
Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday & Sunday, 15:00-23:00

Closed Monday


西川口1-25-8 近藤ビル1F, Kawaguchi, Saitama-ken