Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lambic - Atsugi Beer

Lambic is not really in Tokyo so I am cheating a bit. But then again, I never said this would be exclusively Tokyo, and I think I have broken the Tokyo only thing a few times already. Lambic is the brewery tap for the Atsugi brewery, located in, surprise surprise, Atsugi. So, not in Tokyo, but very much in easy reach of Tokyo. It takes about 50 minutes to get to Hon Atsugi station on the Odakyu line from Shinjuku. Lambic is about a 20 minute walk from Hon Atsugi station, but as it was absolutely bucketing down with rain, we got a cab.
The place itself is split over two floors. The first floor houses the brewery and a long bar with about 10 counter seats and a few tables. Upstairs there is a beer restaurant, but as you can eat downstairs in the bar I didn't look upstairs. They have 7 taps, all unsurprisingly of Atsugi beer. When we visited there were only 6 in action, but there was a nice variety of styles available. The six beers on tap were Lager, Honey Ale, Weizen, Stout, Abbey Tripel and Hopslave, the double IPA that Atsugi make for Thrashzone in Yokohama. Generally speaking the beers come in two sizes, medium and large. The medium is probably around 300ml and for most of the beers was ¥505. When I ordered a large glass I was shocked by the size. I have long got used to medium and large sizes not being so different, and the prices reflecting this. However the Lambic large is massive. Must be at least a UK pint size, and was ¥610! So, ¥610 for a UK pint of 6.5% stout. Amazing! The Abbey Tripel also came in a smaller size, I guess because it is pretty strong. This was around small wine glass size and was ¥400. The stronger beers were ¥600 for a medium and ¥900 for a large, and given the size of the servings, still excellent value. As well as the taps, they also had 4 bottles to drink on the premises or take away. These four were all on tap, but if like me, you wanted to try everything but were running out of time, it's a good option to have. There was a ¥300 cover charge but given the prices of the drinks this was made up in no time.
I really liked Lambic. It definitely felt different from a lot of Tokyo beer bars. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and the place had a nice relaxed feel. I haven't really seen Atsugi beers around in many places and had been wanting to try them. Unsurprisingly given the name of the bar, there was a definite Belgian feel to a few of the beers and they were well worth traveling for. There seem to be a few beer bars in Atsugi, but Lambic was the one that stood out for me from reading reviews. Next time I will try some of the others too. It's the kind of place I wish I had five minutes walk from my house. Unfortunately it is more like 45 minutes on the Odakyu, but in any case, a trip worth making.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, lunch 12.00-14.00, dinner 18.00-22.30
Saturday, lunch 11.30-15.00, dinner 17.30-21.30
closed Sunday

水引2-12-36, Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa-ken

As we went in a cab I can't be totally clear on what the best route is. In any case you need to leave Hon-Atsugi station by the North exit. Head across the taxi rank/bus station area in front of the station and take the main shopping street that is in front of you. Follow this road along until it meets a main road (the 603) just after it bends slightly to the right. At this main road turn left and continue along to the next big junction where it meets a bigger road (the 129) which is on a bridge over the 603. Go under the bridge and turn right to walk alongside the 129. Carry on down here for around 500m until you reach another large junction where the 129 is crossed by the 412 and the 60. At this junction go left, and you should be able to see Lambic on the left shortly after the turning. This is all a bit vague so here is a map of the route I have just attempted to describe.

View Larger Map


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