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, 30 August 2020

Bucket


A quick post today on a recently opened place in Musashi Kosugi. Bucket is a cafe that also serves craft beer rather than being a craft beer cafe if you know what I mean. Perhaps it could be more easily described as a coffee and craft beer place which to be fair is exactly how they do describe it. One big benefit of the coffee shop side of the business is the fact that there is daytime opening. I'm still not sure how popular daytime boozing is in Japan, particularly amongst Japanese people, but given that in this modern world we all work at different times, it's very nice to still have the option of drinking beer in the daytime even if your days off are not the weekend. Anyway, here's what you need to know about Bucket:

- Nice and comfortable new place not far from Musashi Kosugi station a few doors closer than McCanns and across the road from Charbro, another newly opened place that I guess I should visit and put on here soon (but Charbro is a meaty food place, so maybe that's not completely up my street). Long counter for maybe 10 and a big bench seat along the opposite wall with small tables for maybe the same amount. There's also a regular table for four near the front window. 
- Six taps of beer, which seem to be three domestic craft and three US imports. Not sure if this will always be the case, but that's what it looks like so far. Beer served in half and pint (US). Prices ranged from ¥750-¥1050 for the half and ¥1100 to ¥1400 for the pint. These ranges are skewed a bit by one imported beer which was more expensive. If you remove this from the calculations the top end is ¥900 and ¥1250 for half and pint respectively. Brewery choices seem decent, at least from what I've seen and by my taste. 
- No cover charge, no smoking and daytime opening. Couldn't find wifi, but it seems like the kind of place that would have it. I should also mention that alongside the beer which I've obviously focused on for this blog, they serve coffee till 17:00, have some nice looking bar snacks and also have wine, cocktails and soft drinks. 

This was a nice place to visit and definitely a nice place to pop in to during the day. There seem to be a lot of decent places in this area now which is great. They publish their tap list on facebook every day so you can check what they have on before popping in. I'll definitely be back as I often find myself in the area and it was a very enjoyable and relaxing experience when I went.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Craft Rock
Kyoto
Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:
Daily 14:00-22:00
Closed Monday

Location/map:
新丸子東 2-926, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken


Telephone:
None

Monday, 13 July 2020

Mikkeller Kanda


Today, a post on the recently opened Mikkeller Kanda, burger restaurant and beer bar. It’s a bit of an unfortunate time to be opening a new business but Mikkeller seem to be making the best of it with a nice new place with an interesting layout and some very nice burgers. Well to be honest,  I can only really speak for the veggie burger, but it’s mere existence is something to be praised in itself and it was very tasty. Here’s what you need to know.

- Very close to Kanda JR station, literally a stone's through distance wise, although you’d have to throw the stone round a corner if you were really looking to live out the cliche. Bottom floor is the burger floor with one tap of beer and some bottles and cans and is open from lunchtime through to closing. Upstairs there is another bar and further up again some more seating. The decor is very unique and the stairs are extremely unique. Don’t focus too hard on the steep stairs as if you do, you’ll bang your head like I did. At the same time, don't focus too hard on not banging your head and neglect the stairs. Balance is the key!
- Main beer business is done on the middle floor. The drinking section of this place is open from 16:00 daily. They have 12 taps of mainly Mikkeller beers with a few imports. The bottom floor had their house beer on, which was made in collaboration with Devil Craft. A Mikkeller pint (400ml, I believe) of it was ¥950. Didn’t see prices upstairs but I’d imagine they are the same as the Shibuya bar. I didn't see any smaller servings offered but I'd imagine they are. If someone can let me know I'll update.
- No cover charge, no smoking, WiFi, daytime opening and really nice burgers. I had the lunch set which I think was ¥300 extra and had a really nice salad and some really unique chips/fried potatoes/wedges whatever you want to call them.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I like Mikkeller a lot so it will come as no surprise to find out that I like this place too. Next time I definitely want to go when the upstairs bar is open as I only was able to have a quick look at it rather than being able to settle down and enjoy it fully. So, if you’re coming here to drink lots of different beers you should probably make it after 16:00. But the fact that there is one tap on the ground floor means that it is perfect for popping in quickly for some food and a beer at lunchtime too. I really appreciate the fact that they have a veggie burger. Vegetarian options seem to be appearing in Japan recently but are still pretty rare in a place like this, so I’m delighted! Will definitely be back for another burger and some beers soon!


Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:   
Devil Craft

Opening Hours:
Daily 11:30-22:30

内神田 3-21-2, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo


Telephone:
03-5244-4903

Links:
Website
Facebook
Instagram

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Cidernaut

Cidernaut is a relatively new bar near the heart of Shibuya, but is probably still slightly under the radar due to opening just before Coronavirus hit. It’s been a bad time for pretty much everyone I guess, but you’ve got to feel for people who started new hospitality related businesses this year. In spite of plenty of practice when I was a teenager, I’m not a cider drinking expert, so I’ll leave it to you to assess the quality of the ciders available and as usual give you the points that I think you need to know about this new place. So here they are:

- Not far along from Bunkamura along the Kamiyama shopping street in Shibuya, Cidernaut is a new, pretty spacious bar with a cider focus, providing something that I think is pretty unique in Tokyo. Given that we are still social distancing somewhat in Japan, I’m not sure if the seating situation will remain the same, but at the moment there are seats at the bar for five and tables for maybe 20 more. The doors open out onto Kamiyama street and I’d imagine that when / if things get back to normal, this would be a pretty popular place to hang out. 


- 11 taps, eight of cider and three of beer, two of which were Japanese craft and the other a UK import from an interesting brewery. As this is Tokyo Beer Drinker, I’ll only briefly gloss over the cider as I don’t know much about it, but there were imports from the US and the UK along with a couple of Japanese ciders. You can check their Facebook for a tap list (updated daily). Ciders and beers are served in three sizes, half, medium and pint. We had the medium and it was bigger than I expected from the name. I’d guess somewhere between 350-400ml but I’m not good at judging. This makes me think that the half and pint are probably UK measures, but this is just a guess. Prices ranged from ¥690-¥990 for the half, ¥990-¥1390 for the medium and ¥1190-¥1740. I can’t really comment on cider pricing, but I’d definitely have to say that the beers were definitely on the pricey side. But I guess you’re probably not going to come here just to drink beer are you? They also had some bottles and cans of cider available.


- There was no cover charge, but tax was not included in these prices which adds a bit more onto what was already quite high prices. I think given the location and the current situation it’s understandable that this isn’t a cheap place. The place is no smoking and they have some interesting sounding bagels as food. There didn’t seem to be a veggie one though. I couldn’t find wifi. They are open during the day (everyday from 15:00 I think but google says 12:00...), and it was quite nice to have a couple of ciders in a relatively empty bar in the daytime. This definitely says more about me than the bar though. I don’t know if cashless payment is a big thing yet, but if you’re interested, they take paypay. But if you don’t have a Japanese Apple store account, I don’t think you can download that app anyway so maybe this is all a waste of time to mention.


As I've said many times above, I’m nowhere near an expert on cider so I can’t really talk about that too much. I enjoyed coming here but perhaps the prices will be sightly off-putting for some. Approaching from a beer point of view, they are definitely high. The doors opening onto Kamiyama street made for a pleasant atmosphere on a reasonably warm day. The staff were nice and friendly and were able to give suggestions and tips about ciders. I feel that for me, it may be something like a Belgian bar in Tokyo experience, in that it’s not somewhere I’m going to go every week, but it is possibly a nice treat from time to time. But like I said, I’m a klutz when it comes to cider so maybe people who know more will have different opinions. As I always seem to say on here, it’s nice that somewhere new has something a little different about it, rather than being more of the same. I suspect that in these difficult financial times, the places that will survive will be the ones that offer something unique.


Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:   
Yggdrasil
AJB

Opening Hours:
Daily 12:00-23:30 (but beware I have seen it say 15:00 in some places)

神山 16-4, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone:
080-6934-5638

Links:

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Loose ends/various places Part 6

This is part six of what will be constantly (I hope...) updated posts with brief descriptions of places that possibly deserve to be on here but which I have either no time or inclination to visit. Part one is here, part two here, three is here, four is here, and five is here, or you can view all of them by clicking the digest tag, or just clicking here. I have tried various ways of keeping up to date with the crazy amount of places that are opening and have been struggling with deciding which places warrant including and which don't. This seems to be a reasonable way of dealing with them. They will remain on the map with a question mark as I can't vouch for any of these. The map will link to this post where places will be listed in alphabetical order with a short description and link which should give you some idea of what to expect and whether it's worth going to. There will be no tags, as that will just confuse matters I think. If I end up going to any of these places and they are worthy of a full write up, I'll remove them from here and make them a post of their own. Not everything on the backlog and everything that opens will be on here. This is mainly intended for what I imagine to be a bit less interesting but still worth mentioning places or in some cases a bit of a warning.


Bakuya - Kanda

German beer bar with some German craft and some traditional German stuff. Prices seem high, but this is naturally all imported stuff on the eight taps. Unsurprisingly, German food too. Something of a unique proposition I guess, but maybe not one that is massively appealing to me given the pricing. 

Facebook


Beer Bar Tor - Yushima

Belgian beer bar up north in Tokyo. Bottle selection seems decent and the prices are probably what you’d expect to pay. About 40 beers on their website menu. Probably one for Belgian beer loving locals rather than somewhere to travel to.

Website


Beer Bulk J - Tama

Eight taps and about 20 bottles and cans. Tap beer seems dominated by 10 Ants and delving deeper into the internet (checking their web address), I can see that they seem to be linked to the brewery. Other draft is a mix of imports and domestic. Prices seem surprisingly reasonable. They do take out, but probably everybody does now because of Coronavirus. Whether that will continue afterwards, who knows?

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Beer Stand Toyoda - Toyoda

Looks pretty small, but ironically given the name seems to be all counter seating. Seems to be connected to the Ishikawa brewery/Tama No Megumi but there is limited evidence of beers served here that I can find so I’m just guessing. They have a ‘guest beer’ though, which suggests that the rest of the beers are not guests. But maybe there is only one other beer and that’s the Toyoda beer that Ishikawa makes. Anyway, let’s be honest, this is a long way out of central Tokyo so you’re probably only going to be going here if you’re in the area or ridiculously curious with plenty of free time. If you do go, please let us know what’s going on.

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Caliquors Tokyo - Kanda

Craft beer, natural wine and sake goes the slogan. Seems to be a shop rather than a bar but a little nose about on Untappd shows a tap list with eight choices and fairly reasonable prices, slightly weighted in favor of imports but with some very nice looking selections. Will have to check it out soon.

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Craft Beer Scissors - Ikejiri

Craft beer bar and bottle shop. Does delivery too. Ten taps of quite interesting stuff which seems pretty reasonably priced if the sizes are as the names suggest they are. And quite a few bottles and cans too (check the pictures on their website). Mix of imports and Japanese stuff. Growler fills too. Looks like standing only. Quite intriguing.

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Craft Company - Yotsuya
Medium sized place with a few tables. 12 taps with a variety of stuff on. Maybe… Their facebook is a bit low on detail when it comes to prices and beers. Sorry.

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The Day East Tokyo - Asakusa

Apparently a gastro pub but their slogan is 'craft beer good sausage' which suggests it’s not so gastro. The pictures make it look pretty fancy though. Another place with natural wines so I guess that’s becoming a thing here now.  Real mix of imported and domestic stuff checked in on their Untappd but no idea about prices.

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Exbar Tokyo - Ginza

Kind of expensive looking place to me, although they seem to have a lot of pub games and machines so maybe my image is a bit confused. Has some kind of pour it yourself beer machines rather than having you order from bar staff. Worryingly little information about the beer online, but I suppose it does bill itself as an amusement bar and grill so perhaps the beer isn’t the main thing. Seems mainly imports judging by Untappd. Would be tempted to try the beer pouring machines but I should probably admit to myself that as a grumpy old man it’s unlikely I will ever go here. But could be exciting for some.

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Folk Burgers & Beers - Jimbocho

Burger bar with beer. Untappd hints at some interesting beers and their website says small beers from ¥650. But this is ‘from’ so maybe expect it to be a bit more. No veggie burger for me, but that’s not a huge surprise and I’m not moaning about it. Meaty burgers look good, but then most burgers look good to me.

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Honeycomb And Hopworks - Ochiai
Very new brewery in a place with nothing on the map. They seem to have their own beers but as they are collaborations I suspect they were made at the collaborators breweries. Seems like they have eight taps but I also suspect that there aren’t that many on yet. Maybe one to give a bit of time before visiting. But I am intrigued.

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Ise Kadoya - Shinjuku

Very new! Situated high up in Takashimaya this is the second Ise Kadoya taproom after the one in Nihonbashi. I’m going to guess that it’s like that one which you can read about here. Perhaps the location is a bit more exciting this time though.

No website yet…


Kakurenbo - Kanazawa Bunko

Has been open for three years and I’d never heard about it till Beer Tengoku tipped me off. Around six taps of craft beer, mostly Japanese with an occasional cider too. Japanese selections are reasonably interesting and the pricing looks pretty normal too.

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Let’s Beer Works - Higashi Jujo

Another pretty new brewery (only up to their tenth beer so far, but at least they actually managed to start brewing, eh?). Eight taps of all their own stuff on. No idea about prices but the range of beer styles makes it look like somewhere worth having a look at.

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Number Nine Brewery / Quays Pacific Grill - Yokohama    

Another fancy new place in Yokohama. Quite food focussed but with their own brewery (and a gin distillery too, I think). Not sure where all this Yokohama fancy place money is coming from. Seem to have made quite a few different beers since they opened last year. But don’t publicize tap lists or prices it seems. Or anything apart from food really. I’ll try to go someday. By the way, there is apparently a convenience store in the same complex (Hammerhead), with a massive selection of domestic and imported craft beer too.

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Ryuda - Kita Sando
Craft beer bar with ten taps judging by photos but normally with five or six mostly US beers on. No smoking, quite small and seems to have a focus on Japanese food to go with those US beers. Nihonshu and wine too. Get the impression it might be quite expensive. And am put off by the fact that they seem to love the Watering Hole which I don’t. But this is just my opinion.

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Shiokaze Brew Stand Soga - Chiba

New brewery and taproom just opened out in Chiba close to Soga station. Brewer used to work at Baird and is now going it alone. Have heard the beers are very nice. 15 taps with plenty of their own beers and some Japanese and US guests. Prices look very good! Will have to get down here soon.

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Sakamichi Brewing - Tachikawa

Reasonably new brewery (I think, I’m really out of touch though…) out near Tachikawa. Eight taps and decent looking prices, although not sure about the sizes. Mostly Japanese guests at the moment with a couple of US imports and one of their own which suggests I was right about it being a new brewery. Seems to be run by some non-Japanese guys and there are some imported US beers available in cans and bottles. They do growler fills too. (MORE INFO, DIRECT FROM THE BREWERY BELOW IN THE COMMENTS)

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Taihu Tokyo - Kagurazaka
Tokyo taproom of the Taiwanese brewery of the same name. I have always enjoyed their beers (even the gimmicky ones) but not everyone I know has. Interesting to see imported beers from a new country! No idea about tap numbers or prices but there seem to be a few different beers being checked in on Untappd. Will try to go here soon to get some more information and therefore make this entry worthwhile as right now I’m not really telling you anything, am I?

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Friday, 13 March 2020

Le Shirakawa Yofune


Today a post about a place I stumbled on completely by accident on a recent trip to Nishiogikubo. I’m not sure if this place is at all well known. I can’t recall ever hearing about it but maybe that’s just me being out of touch. It’s funny, as before I went there I was lamenting the lack of craft beer places in Nishiogikubo. The Beer Kobo pub closed down and I was wondering why the other place I went to was no longer on my map. When I walked past and found it seems to now be a junk shop I guess I got my answer. Now there are so many beer places opening and closing that even the sad act of removing one from my map when it closes has become so commonplace that it is easily forgotten. I wonder perhaps if the current Coronavirus problems are going to give some more bars problems as people try to stay home. Obviously, if you are self-isolating, you’re not going to be going here soon, but you could at a later date. If you are still free and roaming, I’m sure there are a lot of places that could do with your custom right now. Anyway, here’s what you need to know.

- Medium sized pub/izakaya, tucked away a little off the street below a Mexican restaurant very near Nishiogikubo station. Funnily enough it was the Mexican restaurant that caught my eye and then I noticed I was standing next to the beer menu for this place. Inside behind the classy entrance blue curtain thingy, there are tables for maybe 20 and a counter for six. It felt like a place that is quite food focused but it was fine for me to just drink. There is a cover charge/otoshi of ¥300, but I was asked if I wanted it or not (perhaps as I had asked on entering if drinking only was ok). The master prepared something vegetarian for me and it was very nice! Their logo says craft beer and craft wine but I get the feeling that the food is also a big thing here. Sadly, I didn’t check the menu. Yeah, i know, I'm stupid. I was just thinking about the beer…
- 10 taps, but there were only seven taps of craft on when I was there. One was Malts and I guess the other two were not on. There was an interesting selection of Japanese breweries represented, with there being a few from Tohoku (and I did pick up a bit of a Tohoku theme going on) and one made just down the road by Oga (don’t think I’ve seen Oga on tap before but maybe I’m not going to the right places to find it). Generally speaking beers were served in two sizes, S (250ml) and L (450ml) priced at ¥700 for the S and ¥1100 for the L. The one exception was a Kyoto Brewing strong beer that was ¥800 for a ‘wine glass’. Bear in mind that tax is added at the end and you might have that otoshi too. In any case, the pricing is pretty reasonable I think. They had an Uchu bottle on the menu too if that's your kind of thing. Not sure if that was the only bottle available, but I didn’t spot any others mentioned anywhere else.
- No smoking, some daytime opening (for lunch, but closes mid afternoon).

I quite liked this place, and ended up staying longer than I had intended as I was supposed to be just popping in for a quick beer. The otoshi was really nice and I was very pleased I had it. Sometimes it’s a relief if I can actually eat the otoshi, so to have one that I actually enjoyed a lot was a very pleasant surprise. I thought the beer selection was pretty interesting too. It seems that they sometimes put their tap list on their Facebook page, but I’d say that you can probably rely on them having something good and interesting on, judging by my limited experience of one visit and a quick look at posted tap lists. I’d say I’ll be back there soon, but Nishiogikubo is a rarely visited area for me. But if you use the train, it’s not that far from Kichijoji and is very close to the station, so could easily be incorporated into some kind of Chuo line crawl if you're not bother by the otoshi. I used to talk about this pub crawl all the time and it used to pretty much mostly be Beer Kobo brewpubs, but I think now you could do it without visiting any of those, as there are interesting places near every station from Shinjuku to Kichijoji (and probably further if you did a bit of investigation). Regarding this place, it probably makes more sense to stay for a few though if you're paying for an otoshi. As I said, I don't know anything about the food, and as a vegetarian, it's almost certainly not good for me, but the considerate and helpful service makes me think that I would pop back if I were in the area. Cheers!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:   
Oga
Y Market
Outsider
Uchu
Be Easy
Kyoto

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30-15:00, 17:30-00:00
Closed Monday

西荻南 3-15-13 高梨ビル1F, Suginami-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6875-4187

Links:

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Brewery links

I thought it made more sense to have all the brewery links on one post rather than clogging up the side bar. So here you are, links to all the breweries mentioned on here. Click on the name to be taken to what I reckon is their most useful online presence.