Sunday, 9 December 2018

Yggdrasil Brewing

Today, it's another new brewery and another new town for the map. In the interests of full disclosure, Yggdrasil is a new brewery taproom that has been opened by friends of mine, so I'm going to try to be even more neutral than usual. Their facebook describes the concept as 'Heavy Metal infused craft beer, cider and mead' so this should give you some idea of what to expect. Of course I really like the place, but I don't want people to think that I'm biased, so I'll just set the information out and leave you to come to your own conclusions about it. They are yet to begin brewing on site, so when they do that I'll update whatever I need to update on here, but I think there probably won't be that many changes, apart from the make up of the taplist. Anyway, here's what you need to know:

- As you would expect from a new place, shiny new decor with plenty of wood. Seating for around six at the counter and tables for ten. The brewery is visible through the doors to the back area. They have a food menu with some snacks that you don't see so often in Japanese beer pubs (galettes!).
- Eight taps which at the moment is made up of one of their own beers (brewed at Ebina. Past beers have been brewed at Itabashi Brewing Unit and they have one made at Barbaric coming soon). Two sizes available in their own nice looking and interestingly shaped glassware, small (270ml) and regular (380ml). Their own beer is priced at ¥600 for the small and ¥800 for the regular. The guest beers are ¥100 extra for each size. All the guests are at the moment Japanese. They also have a selection of imported bottles and cans, which seem to be mainly US imports at the moment. They also have cider and mead.
- No smoking, no cover charge and some daytime opening at the weekend.  

As I said, I could get all effusive but I'm trying to be impartial. I've really enjoyed all of their beers so far and am looking forward to seeing what happens when they get to use their own equipment. Craft beer and food with a French touch and a big serving of Heavy Metal gives this place an undeniably unique twist so of course I'd recommend you go down there, perhaps including it in a Kanagawa breweries and bars pub crawl. Why not, eh?

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Yggdrasil
Repubrew
Atsugi
Devil Craft
Bay Brewing
Zakko
TK Brewing
Shonan

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday, 15:00-23:00
Sunday, 15:00-22:00
Closed Monday and Tuesdays

Location/Map:
Chateau Aube 1F 44-7夕陽ケ丘, Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
None
 

Links:
Facebook
Twitter

Website

Friday, 7 December 2018

Irish Bar McCanns


Today a briefer than usual brief post. McCanns is somewhere I’d heard of as being an Irish pub with some craft beer. When we visited after the final Frontale game of the season for our Frontale Gaijin Fan Bonenkai it was a really pleasant surprise. The decor and atmosphere is pretty authentically Irish pub like. You order at the bar and pay as you go. This is not a predominantly craft beer place with plenty of the usual pub beverages available, but crucially it had four taps of craft beer hidden away out the back alongside the usual Irish pub draught beers. These craft taps included three by one of my recent favourites TK Brewing and one by Knee Deep. This convinced me that this place deserved an entry of its own, albeit a brief one. Prices ranged from ¥1000-¥1200 for a US pint, so pretty much as you’d expect. One drawback is that smoking is allowed but I guess this is to be expected in a pub that is not exclusively a craft beer place. There’s plenty of seating at the counter and on the second floor. There is also room to stand so there’s no need to worry about reserving (probably). As I said above, this was a really pleasant surprise and I’m sure I’ll be going back.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
TK Brewing

Opening Hours:

Monday- Saturday, 17:00-02:00
Closed Sunday

Location/Map:

新丸子東 2-926-27, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa

(I've put map directions from the Toyoko line/Nambu line station as this is the one I always use, but it's pretty close to the Tokkaido line station too).



Telephone:  
044-567-8256
 

Links:
Website

Facebook

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Tap & Growler

*Photo coming soon. I forgot to take one...*

Today another growler filling place but one which encourages on site drinking a bit more than Night Owl. Tap and Growler also has a distinctly bigger selection and has the advantage of being located in Shimokitazawa. Unfortunately, this desirable location is reflected in their pricing, but to be honest, is in keeping with most of their Shimokita neighbours. Here’s what you need to know:

- Fairly small place that is foremost a growler filling location and bottle shop, but which also offers on site boozing in small sizes. Counter for five and seating for six more at high tables. There’s also a little patio area out front if that’s your thing.
- 18 taps available to fill your growler and take away, or to drink on site. On site drinking seemed to be in half pint size only. Again, I’ve left it so long that I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was US half pint. Prices ranged from ¥600-¥950 for this. Growler fills are available in 32oz or 64oz, which I would consider a slightly outmoded measure of weight, but if I’m being less intentionally naive, will admit is two US pints or four US pints. Prices ranged from ¥1620-¥2920 for the 32oz and ¥2670-¥4800 for the 64oz. All the beers were from Japanese craft breweries but some were extremely run of the mill and these were obviously the ones at the lower end of the price range. I don’t think I’ve seen Echigo and Brewmaster on tap for a long time and it wasn’t exactly a welcome reunion. On the other hand they did have some interesting stuff from small new breweries as well as a couple of big hitters. Their taplist is available on their website if you want to have a look. They also have a point card with you getting a stamp for drinking a beer on site, two for a 32oz growler fill and three for a 62oz growler fill. Double points on rainy days too. If you get to 24 points you get a free beer, 48 points two free beers and 72 points a t-shirt. You don’t see these kind of point cards around so often, and I’m all in favour of them, as I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.
- Bottles were also available and once again I’m really wishing I’d paid more attention and made some notes. In the bottle fridge they had imports as well as Japanese craft. I remember some interesting looking US stuff and again some interesting smaller Japanese breweries. Prices, well I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to let you down again. I’ll update if I’m back there as time has completely erased any memories of them.
- The staff were very friendly and seemed interested in what they were selling. They were playing some nice music when I was there and I had an enjoyable but brief visit. They have free WiFi and thankfully there’s no cover charge. The place is no smoking but I seem to remember there’s smoking on the patio if that’s your thing. There’s a little daytime opening, but only at the weekend. Oh, and it's cash on delivery, so you pay as you go.

I’m a big conflicted about this place. The prices are a big turn off, but when you consider the prices in Ushi Tora and Kazenori Merry, they are totally in line with their neighbours. But there’s a reason I never go to those two places. (Actually there’s s couple of reasons I don’t go to Ushi Tora but I won’t go into that here!). There is some good stuff on their menu and in their fridge, but the tap menu has some beers from breweries I wouldn’t ever suggest anyone ever needs to try. If you can steer your way around these and don’t mind paying a bit more for the location of the bar, then this is the place for you. I’m not sure how popular growler filling is in Japan. It’s not something I do myself, but it’s a good option to have if that’s your bag.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Fukushima
Hitachino Nest
Y Market
Kyoto
Uchu
Mountain River
Barbaric
Brewmaster
Ushi Tora
Echigo
Vertere
Hop Kotan
Tokorozawa
Baeren
Iwate Kura
Minoh
Hideji

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 18:00-00:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 15:00-00:00
Closed Monday

Location/Map:
北沢2-33-6, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-6416-8767
 
Links:
Facebook

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Murmur "Biiru" Stand

Today, a place that stretches the Tokyo Beer Drinker map in a slightly new direction. Murmur is one of a couple of new breweries that has started fairly recently in Nikko. This seems to make a lot of sense, given that Nikko is jammed full of tourists and if there’s one thing we all know for sure about tourists, it’s that they are crazy for craft beer. As many readers of this might be tourists themselves, Murmur provides a decent opportunity to tick off some cultural tourism and some beer tourism in one go. Here’s what you need to know:

- Pretty small place located about a 15 minute walk from the rail stations on Nikko’s main road. Ground floor has the brewery at the back behind a big window, a small counter for serving, and four or five standing tables. Upstairs, there’s a slightly smaller room with seating at tables for eight. Apparently the decor of the upstairs room is inspired by the film Amelie. Not sure if there is a connection that I’m missing.
- Six taps, but only five were on when we visited, four of which were their own beers and one was a guest from their neighbours in Utsunomiya, Blue Magic. All beers were served in two sizes, small and large for ¥500 and ¥1000 respectively. Sadly, as I have left it so long between visiting and posting this, I can only judge the sizes by looking at photos. Complete stab in the dark, but around 250ml for the small and judging by the prices, 500ml for the large. But yeah, I’m just making this up really.
- Alongside the usual pluses of WiFi, daytime opening (lots of it), no cover charge and no smoking we have the added benefits of them having phone charging facilities and a mini (extremely mini) patio out front. They have a couple of bar snacks available but also allow you to bring your own food in. Nice!

It goes without saying that Nikko has been calling out for somewhere like this for a while and Murmur was a fun place to visit. The master was very friendly and there was a constant stream of visitors popping in for a beer or two. Perhaps this isn’t somewhere you’d be staying a long time as there’s plenty of tourism to be done, but would be a really nice pit-stop during a busy day of sightseeing, or as was the case for us, somewhere to round off the day before heading to the station. Most of the information is available in English here and there is a nice sign saying something along the lines of please speak slowly as his English isn’t good. From listening in to him explain the beers to other customers though, I think he’s being modest.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Murmur
Blue Magic

Opening Hours:
Friday-Monday, 12:00-22:00
Tuesday, 10:00-15:00
Closed Wednesday & Thursday

Location/Map:  
上鉢石町1013番地, Nikko, Tochigi-ken

 
Telephone: 
None
 

Links:
Facebook

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Kitchen 078


The final post of my small flurry, and the second stop in Chigasaki after Gold'n Bub. Kitchen 078 is just round the corner, very close to the station and is a pretty small place with good beer and food and a really nice feel. Here's what you need to know. 

-  Pretty small, even by Japanese standards. Counter for four and tables for maybe six. Unsurprisingly it has a cosy feel!
- Beers served in two sizes, Glass (280ml) and Pint (470ml). Beers are a mix of Japanese stuff and imports with the Japanese beers including a brewery I had never tried before (Uchu). The imports were both from the US. Prices were similar for both imports and domestic beers and ranged from ¥800-¥850 and ¥1200-¥1300. Considering some of these beers were pretty high alcohol, you were getting a decent bang for your buck! Beers were served in nice wine glass style glasses. Much better than those Shaker style glasses if you want to get your nose right in there.
- No smoking, no cover charge and instead of daytime opening they have super late opening. Not so great if you're visiting from Tokyo, but fantastic if you want to get proper messed up and live near by!

This was a really nice place. The staff were welcoming and I would definitely go back if I were in the area. The prices weren't the cheapest but are comparable to their neighbours at Gold'n Bub and are understandable given the size of the place. I think I've said it before but, a good atmosphere and really being interested in what you are serving more than makes up for paying a little more for the beers. After all, we are aiming to have a nice time when we drink, aren't we? The size perhaps suggest that if you want to be sure of getting in, it might be worth arriving early. I don't know how busy it gets, but I would imagine it's quite popular.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Be Easy
Uchu

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday, 18:00-03:00
Sunday, 16:00-01:00
Closed Monday

Location/Map:
幸町23-16, サザンコート7-9, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
0467-38-5691
 

Links:
Facebook

Monday, 29 October 2018

Gold'n BuB


Heading down to the opening night of Yggdrasil Brewing (blog post to follow soon, I'm giving them a little time to get going before I write anything), I popped into to a couple of places in Chigasaki that I've been meaning to visit for a long time (a phrase that is becoming something of a regular refrain on here, it seems). Gold'n Bub has been on my list for a while as I've heard great things about it. This is another Kanagawa brewpub so perhaps I should change the name of this blog, but is in relatively easy reach of Tokyo and has the added benefit of being by the seaside, if you're into that kind of thing. Here's what you need to know.

- Taproom and brewery of Barbaric Works beer, which you can find at quite a few places in Tokyo now. This is a nice looking place, with a U-shaped counter for maybe twelve and a few other high tables for maybe ten. Seems pretty trendy and young, but I would say that as someone who is conscious about being not young and is deeply unfashionable. I don't want to say the word 'hipster' as it has negative connotations, but that will give you a bit of a feel for what is going on here. There's a patio too, but I guess we're currently heading into the wrong season for that. Who knows when you're reading this though.
- 10 taps, one hand pump, around 2/3 of which is their own stuff, made on site. Beer is served in two sizes, the usual half and US pint. Their beers range from ¥600-¥700 and ¥1000-¥1100 respectively. Their beers were all Pale Ales, IPAs and Saisons, as is the fashion at the moment. Their guest beers rounded out the styles somewhat though, with an Imperial Stout from Outsider, Scotch Ale from Baird and an AJB Berliner Weisse. Guest beers were ¥750 and ¥1150 for the two sizes. They also have six of their beers available in bottles which cover even more styles, most of which are Belgian influenced and high alcohol! The cheapest is ¥630 and the most expensive, a ¥2400 750ml Barley Wine. DOWN IN ONE! Strangely, whilst it seems that the bottle prices don't include tax, the tap prices do.
- Unfortunately has none of my holy trinity. No daytime opening, but it is open very late every day if that's your thing. There is a ¥50 cover charge, which seems so small that it probably can't really be worth it. I got a very nice little pickled beetroot and cabbage dish for it, so no complaints from me about it, but I know people don't like charges. The big let down for me is the fact that smoking is allowed. It's such a shame that they put so much effort into their beer and food and then you probably won't be able to smell either.

Unsurprisingly, they seem to love beer here. Although maybe it's not completely unsurprising as plenty of recent bar openings seem to be more in love with money than beer. But this is a serious beer place and it's good to get to try many of their beers in one place. It's not the cheapest of places, but at the same time, it's not so expensive either. I'd have no qualms about trumpeting this place if it weren't for the smoking which is a huge downside for me. Perhaps this is looking at things from a European point of view, but I think there are plenty of people who won't go to places where people are smoking. However, if this isn't an issue for you, or it's patio weather, head on down. They are clearly a hugely important part of the beer scene in this area and seem to be really passionate about what they are doing.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Barbaric
AJB
Baird
Outsider

Opening Hours:
Monday-Saturday, 17:00-02:00
Closed Sunday

Location/Map:
幸町23-21ブリーゼ茅ヶ崎1F, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken


Telephone: 
0467-67-7916
 

Links:
Facebook

Website/blog

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Yokohama Kanazawa Brewery - La Fusion Na


Today, continues this little flurry of posts and continues the tale of my increasingly intoxicated journey from Beach Muffin to a football game. It's another brewpub, but is significantly different from my previous stop, Minami Yokohama Beer Labo. It's very close to Nokendai station, one stop from Kanazawa Bunko and Minami Yokohama, so it probably makes sense to combine the two if you're in the area. You can do your own compare and contrast too if you want! Here's what you need to know.

- Very different feel to Minami Yokohama Beer Labo, this being more of a restaurant/dining place than a bar, but the master was fine with me just popping in for beer. Slightly fancy Japanese counter restaurant feel to it, although I should admit that I have never actually been to a fancy Japanese counter restaurant so I'm flying by the seat of my pants with this comparison. Do they even exist? Perhaps I've made the whole concept up. Counter seating for 12 and another table for maybe four. Take your shoes off on the way in and put them in the lockers at the door. 
- Once again this is a brewpub, but instead of the brewing being done on a separate floor, it's done in a tiny space by the door. You wouldn't know though, as the two beers and one cider I tried were really good! They had six beers on when I was there but their Facebook page shows that sometimes this can be eight. Two sizes, half and US pint and all beers were priced at ¥480 and ¥780 respectively. Decent variety of styles, and avoids the homebrew feel that some other new or small breweries beers have. Very impressive! Lots of other booze available if you're not into beer.
- According to their Facebook page, they have some daytime opening. The hours seem a little unusual though, so it might be worth checking before you go. I should also say that I went there near opening time and was fine, but there were quite a few reservations, so if you're determined to visit, and are getting off the train especially, it's probably worth trying to book or going right at opening time. Better safe than sorry. There was no cover charge when I was there, but maybe this isn't the case if you're eating. Tabelog says there is a smoking area, but I wasn't aware of there being one. Sorry, this is all a bit vague! Perhaps I should have arrived a bit more sober.


This was really a pleasant surprise! It's great to visit a relatively new brewery (the restaurant has been there a while but they've only been brewing since 2016), and find that they are making some very nice beers! The prices are very good too. The master was very keen to chat about his beers and even went into the brewery to put his as yet unreleased cider on for me as he was interested in what I thought about it. I think he can speak some English, but can't say for sure whether I have made this aspect up as well. Seems this is all a bit of a blur. Sorry!

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Yokohama Kanazawa

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 17:00-22:30
Friday, 11:00-22:30
Saturday, 16:00-22:30
Closed Sunday

Location/Map:
釜利谷東3-1-4, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-788-4575
 

Links:
Facebook

Website
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