Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Le Collier (NOW CLOSED)


APPARENTLY THIS SHOP HAS EITHER CLOSED DOWN OR GOT RID OF ALL THE  BEERS (EITHER WAY, I GUESS IT'S NOT OF INTEREST ANYMORE), SO IT HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE MAP. 

Another shop today, but there is a bit of a twist, or some might say a hitch with this one. Le Collier is a shop in Tokyo station, and one with possibly the largest selection of Japanese beers I have ever seen. However, it is also completely inside Tokyo station. This means that you need to go through the ticket barriers to reach it. It is in a kind of gourmet shopping centre called Gransta, and is a couple of levels under the JR platforms. This presents some issues in visiting it if you are not traveling on JR. The first time I tried to find it, I didn't realise, and was totally bamboozled by what my map was telling me. The second time, I knew what to expect, so arrived on the Chuo line rather than the metro.
So, the beers. Well, it certainly is a large selection. Anyone who has ever traveled around Japan on Shinkansen will have seen the local produce shops that seem to be at most Shinkansen stations. There always seems to be a few local beers squirreled away somewhere in these shops. Le Collier seems to have a kind of beer selection that reminds me of these station shops, but collected from many stations in Japan. There were four or five fridges with bottles and cans from all over Japan, so a very wide choice. Probably quite useful for someone who forgot to buy souvenirs at the other end of their trip. This kind of selection means that there are quiet a few of what could be described as less interesting Japanese beers. However, there is also a lot of good stuff there too, and if you were looking for something new you would almost certainly find it. Some of the more interesting breweries they stocked included Minoh, Oh La Ho, Hitachino Nest and Iwate Kura. There was interesting stuff that I want to try from breweries such as Umenishiki and Beer Hearn/Herun, and of course the usual suspects Yo Ho, Echigo, Coedo etc. Most of these breweries had multiple offerings, so the selection must be over the 100 mark. Prices are pretty much what you would expect; the more common breweries going from around ¥280 and the higher end stuff coming in at up to ¥600. Station pricing seems to be done a bit differently in Japan than it is in the UK!
So, a very good place to get new and interesting beers. The selection was predominately regular beers, but some breweries had seasonals there too. They took a lot of care packing the beers too (from a protection point of view rather than presentation), which was nice. They also seemed to have a couple of taps for on site drinking, but not sure how this would really work as it is a fairly small shop. Definitely the biggest selection of Japanese beers I have seen, and something for both new beer tickers and for people who know what they like. My only complaint could be that you have to go through the barriers to get to it, but this just means you need to plan a bit before visiting I guess, so it's only a minor gripe. I will pop in whenever I am passing through the station, but it is also worth a visit in its own right.

Japanese breweries available when I visited:
Echigo
Yo Ho
Doppo
Beer Hearn/Herun
Niigata
Coedo
Kamakura
Unazuki
Otaru
Oh La Ho
Hitachino Nest
Umenishiki
Minoh
Konishi
Helios
Onuma
Zumona
Iwatekura
(and some more that I couldn't easily identify, and I sort of gave up writing them down as there were so many)

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday, 08.00-22.00
Sunday, 08.00-21.00

Location/map
JR東日本東京駅構内地下1階GRANSTA, 丸の内1-9-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
So, potentially a difficult one, and for once a googlemap is going to be pretty much no help to you. I have put a link above to the general location for reference though. Le Collier is inside Tokyo JR station after the ticket barriers. The entrance it is nearest to is the Marunouchi Underground Central Gate. If you are entering the station, best use that one. If you are arriving on a train, best bet is to go down a couple of floors to the basement 1 level, and then follow the signs for the Marunouchi Underground Central Gate. This gate is quite near the end of Gransta. If you are entering via this gate Le Collier will be on your right just as you enter Gransta. It is tucked away in a kind of food court looking area with a bakery at the front, If in doubt, just ask a shopping centre employee, as I am sure they are used to people getting lost here. Tokyo station is a mystery that I have still to truly get to grips with.

Telephone: 
03-5220-5263

Links: 
Website
Ratebeer listing

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