Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Beer Republic The Grub - Yoyogi Uehara

Just a brief post today on a fairly new place that has opened in Yoyogi Uehara. I initially wasn't sure whether I should put this on here as there is a lot of non-Craft beer there. But considering that I seem to keep going there I thought it owed it to them to publicise their place a bit.

- Seven taps, four of regular macro stuff, one slightly rotating BrewDog tap (which is usually Punk IPA, but occasionally a seasonal appears) and two taps of craft beer. These vary between Japanese craft and imported craft (US or Mikkeller recently). Served in two sizes, glass and pint. Glass is around 330ml I reckon and for the guests, normally costs around ¥800. Pint is a US pint and is around ¥1050.
- Large bottle menu with a focus on Belgian and US stuff. Also a page in the menu of limited stock bottles with some 750ml stuff included.
- Very nice pub food. Big selection of dishes, decent vegetarian selections too. Think they really take a lot of care with their food.
- Looks a bit like a British pub. They have a couple of screens showing sports but with the sound down. Lots of seating.
- They now have a couple of 'happy hours' too. Daily from 17:00-19:00 you can get ¥200 off pints and glasses of their guest craft beers. And you can get the same discount between 03:00 and 04:30 from Monday to Thursday.

Very pleased we have another place in Uehara, really close to the station too and this one is a very different kind of place to Cafe De Tete. It's considerably cheaper and is very much a pub rather than a bar/cafe. They are open extremely late and publish their taplist on facebook daily and there is no cover charge, so if you are fussy (like me) you can keep an eye on it and then just pop in for one when there's something you want to drink. In spite of the limited selection of decent taps, they do seem to care about their beer. They recently were selling three different aged Belgian magnums by the glass as a Christmas special. The staff are very friendly and it's a very relaxed place. The big downside is that smoking is allowed. This isn't such a problem at the moment, as it's a fairly big place and not so busy, but I suspect that one chain-smoking patron on an adjacent table could quite easily ruin your evening. But I don't want to put you off as this is a place that I like going to and I hope succeeds.

Japanese breweries I've seen on tap here:
Minoh
Beer Buddy
Sankt Gallen
North Island

Opening Hours:
NEW OPENING HOURS FROM NOV. 2015
Monday-Saturday, 17:00-06:00 (!)
Sunday, 17:00-02:00

Location/map:
第二小林ビル 2F, 上原 1-32-15, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6804-8714

Links:

Facebook
Blog
Ratebeer listing

Friday, 12 December 2014

Blue Room


A brief post on this really nice place in Kamakura. The Blue Room is a small craft beer and pizza place on the main shopping street in Kamakura. As far as I know it's the only beer bar in Kamakura at the moment and although I could only pop in for a couple of drinks, if I find myself in Kamakura again I will definitely make more time for it.


- Small place. Four seats at the counter and room for about eight at a few tables.
- 10 taps and one handpump available but only six kegs on when we were there.
- Two sizes, 250ml for ¥540 and 500ml for ¥1080. Three 1/4 pint tasters of any beers for ¥1080. Prices seem to have gone up a bit since I went. Thanks to Davido for letting me know. Small is now ¥600, but ¥800 for Kyoto regular beers which is pretty expensive! Large is ¥1100 (¥1400 Kyoto) and the flight is now ¥1100.
- Taplists occasionally on their facebook page. They sometimes have Yorocco beer!
- Really nice pizza, and nice atmosphere.
- No cover charge!

Very nice, and highly recommended if you are in the area. I'll be back as soon as I can. Have added a couple of pictures as the bar is slightly tucked away on the second floor with only a Japanese sign outside, so one picture of the sign at the entrance and one of the front of the bar. Please follow the map below for directions, but you need to leave the JR station from the East exit and proceed up the main shopping street for about 300m.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Baird
Bay Brewing
North Island
Hideji
(and sometimes Yorocco!)

Opening Hours:
Monday-Wednesday, Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 12:00-14:00, 17:00-23:00
Closed Thursday

Location/map:
秋山ビル 2F, 小町 2-8-9, Kamakura, Kanagawa



Telephone:
050-3478-1877

Links:

Facebook

Ratebeer listing

Thursday, 11 December 2014

T. Y. Harbor

Today, a post on a brewery/brewpub/restaurant in Shinagawa, T. Y. Harbor. I had been meaning to go here for a while as I had heard mixed reports and was keen to decide for myself. So, I finally made it there a couple of Fridays ago with a group of friends.
My first impression was that it's an absolutely massive place. The complex is huge with a small bar area at the entrance which, to be honest, if compared with most beer bars in Tokyo is actually quite big. However, it seems small compared with the restaurant area which must have seating for at least a few hundred. The scale is quite shocking when compared to the bars I go to most often. The bar area is next to what I presume is part of the brewery, and the restaurant is split into two parts, one inside, and a terrace which is covered, enclosed and heated, but still has a feeling of being outside with its dockland views. The whole feeling of the place is pretty swish and quite slick. There are loads of staff buzzing around and the service was very good. They did keep taking the beer menu away though. Maybe they don't have enough to go round! In the restaurant I couldn't help feel a little out of place. It seems that the place is very popular with business people and people who like fancy places locations (huge presumption and generalisation, I know). Perhaps the bar area is a bit more laid-back. But after I had made it halfway down the beer list I began to relax a little.
So on to the main attraction, or what I at least expected to be the main attraction, the beer. They had eight beers available on tap, six of their own (five regulars (Pale, Wheat, Amber, IPA and Imperial Stout) and one seasonal) and two guests, one Japanese craft and one US import. The prices were pretty reasonable considering the swishness of the place. Beers were served in five sizes, small (250ml), medium (420ml), large (650ml), boot (1000ml) and pitcher (1800ml). Prices for all their beers were the same, ¥550, ¥880, ¥1250, ¥1900 and ¥3500 respectively. The guests were a little more expensive, the US import ¥650 and ¥1050 for small and medium and the Japanese guest ¥580 and ¥950. If you compare these to other bars, they're not so expensive, but maybe not exactly cheap considering it's their own beer. I've seen their beers at iBrew before where they were cheaper, so the same gripe as with the BrewDog bar I guess, but to a much less significant extent. In my opinion the regular house beers were pretty safe and a little uninspiring, but everyone has different tastes. One of them I really didn't like though, but everyone else didn't seem to have the same objections as I did to it. The seasonal beer was a IIPA and was really nice. Surprisingly really, really nice. Their guests were from the extremely safe (in my opinion) Coronado from the US and from Loco from Chiba, which was a bit more interesting. The guests seem to change every couple of months.
I'm not sure this is really somewhere that beer geeks need to go. In spite of it being a brewery the emphasis definitely seems to be on the food, which was nice, but also pretty expensive. The vegetarian selection was very limited though which surprised me given the size of the operation and the fact that they do seem to be an international kind of place. It reminded me a lot of Brew Wharf in London, which is a stupid comparison as I think it's now closed and many people who read this will probably not have been there, but they also seemed to be a fancy restaurant with the attached brewery being more of an afterthought. It's nice that they don't have a cover charge, but to be honest it would be a bit cheeky given the food prices. The bread from the attached bakery was really nice and actually quite reasonably priced. They have a few other outlets around Tokyo which are listed on their group website and have different food specialities I believe. I guess the beer will be the same at these though, so I probably won't be trying them. The bar area seems to be open at lunchtime and all day at weekends and on holiday, so if you are interested in trying the beers, this is probably the place to go to. To sum it up in a few words, fancy place, nice food, average beer, bit expensive, probably not really for me. But I'm sure many people will like it, so if it sounds good to you, give it a try.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
T.Y Harbor
Loco

Opening Hours (bar):
Monday-Friday, 11:30-14:00 (last orders), 17:00-22:00 (last orders)

Saturday, 11:30-22:00 (last orders)
Sunday & Holidays, 11:30-21:00 (last orders)

Location/map:
2-1-3 東品川, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
It's closest to Tennoz Isle station, but maybe Shinagawa is a bit more of a convenient destination. A map from Shinagawa station's east exit is below. It takes about 15 mins to walk from there. There are two Tennoz Isle stations, one on the Tokyo Monorail and one on the Rinkai line. They are both pretty close, so I won't write directions. Please check this map.



Telephone:
03-5479-4555


Links:
Website
Facebook page
Ratebeer listing

Monday, 8 December 2014

Craft Beer Market Koenji

The fifth Craft Beer Market, and it's a bit of a departure for them. Well, in terms of geographical location. Pretty much everything else is the same as the other branches, so it might be worth you checking the post on the Jinbocho branch for the fine details. I will sum things up here though.
The Koenji Craft Beer Market has seating at a couple of counters for around 15 and quite a few small tables in the back, probably room for about 20-30 at these. There is also a small standing area, which I think seems to work as a waiting area for a table if you turn up without a reservation. Although obviously if everything's booked you might be waiting a while. There are 30 taps and 2 handpumps, and the pricing is the same as the other branches (¥480 for glass, and ¥780 for a pint) and like the other branches there is a cover charge of ¥300, so it's not really the place to pop in for just one. The food here seems to be grill focused, and quite meat heavy. The opening hours seem to vary branch to branch, and at this one we are open a little longer at the weekend, although I'm not sure if they have the same crazy system that they have at Mitsukoshimae with some strangeness between lunch and dinner. They publish their taplist on their facebook daily, so you can always see what's on, which is useful too. If you do want to visit, you probably need to turn up early or make a reservation though as they seemed pretty busy when I went.
I'm pleased that they are advancing out of businessman areas, and it's likely that I'll be coming here a bit more often as I am in Koenji quite a bit. I think them opening might be bad news for smoky Bankan, which aside from the smoking is a very nice place but can't match CBM for prices or for non-smokiness. Bakushu Kobo is just around the corner, but I think they offer something a bit different from CBM. All in all though, it means that Koenji has enough places for a mini pub-crawl, although the ¥300 cover charge at Craft Beer Market makes that idea less appealing. However, I like Craft Beer Markets and they always seem to have something good on. I'll be heading back when I'm in the area.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Kure
Nihonkai Club
Fujizakura Kogen
Coedo
Iwatekura
Harvestmoon
Brimmer
Johana
Brewmaster
Beer Buddy
Oh La Ho
Baird
Yo-Ho
Ise Kadoya
Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-23:30

Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 12:00-16:00 (lunch), 16:00-23:30 (dinner)

Location/map:
2-22-6 高円寺北, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
From Koenji JR station, leave via the north exit, and cross the square. Head north up the road in the north-west corner of the square. Carry on up this road till the end and Craft Beer Market will be right in front of you.



Telephone:
03-5356-7982


Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook page
Ratebeer listing

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Cactus Burrito

Today, a brief post about a great restaurant that has good beer. Cactus Burrito is in suburban Kawasaki near Musashi-Shinjo station. I first became aware of them after a facebook post about them buying beer for the restaurant at Antenna America, and given that Mexican is one of my favourite foods, and one that is normally pretty good for vegetarians, it was only a matter of time before I went there. The first time was about six months ago, but I forgot to take a photo so had to go back. Which was absolutely fine with me!
Cactus Burrito is a fairly small place. There are seats for five at the counter and for 12 at tables, so if you haven't made a reservation, it's probably a good idea to get there early. The food is great, very reasonably priced and vegetarian friendly too. But as this is a beer blog, I should talk about the beer. There is one tap of macro, but the fridge is full of bottled goodness, mainly from the US, but also with a selection of bottles from the local brewery Brimmer, including their seasonals, which is nice. The US imports are from a good mix of importers and in a good mix of styles. Last time we had a brown ale, Belgian IPA, cream ale and imperial stout, so it's not just a fridge full of IPAs as you might expect. Breweries represented on our last visit included Stillwater, Sierra Nevada, Stone, Victory, Pelican, SKA and Anderson Valley, but there is definitely some rotation, so who knows what will be there.
I really like this place. Their food is fantastic and it's nice to be able to eat Mexican and not only have the choice of Corona or Sol. I'd be there a lot more often if I lived closer, but it's still worth making your way there. They speak English, so don't be worried if you can't speak Japanese. They also sell their own homemade hot sauce, pickled jalapenos and some interesting books and merchandise which are well worth checking out.

Japanese breweries' bottles available when I visited:
Brimmer (and lots of US imports)

Opening Hours:
(BE CAREFUL THOUGH, THEY NORMALLY CLOSE ONE DAY A WEEK, SO CHECK THEIR BLOG OR CALL BEFORE YOU VISIT MID-WEEK)
Monday-Friday, 17:00-22:30
Saturday, 12:30-15:30, 17:00-22:00
Sunday, 17:00-22:00

Location/map:
千年 1045, Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki

Directions:
From Musashi Shinjo station, turn right after the barriers and leave via the south exit. Head directly across the square and down the road that Lawson is on. Take the fifth right turn and go straight for about 200m. Cactus Burrito is on the left, just after the fifth side street.



Telephone:
044-777-0555

Links:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
 

Friday, 5 December 2014

World Beer Market


THIS PLACE HAS NOW MOVED TO THE OTHER SIDE OF KITA SENJU STATION. CHECK OUT THE NEW POST HERE

Today, a fantastic beer shop in Kita Senju. I visited here a year or so ago, and it was good. But since then they seem to have considerably upped their game. Maybe it's not particularly convenient unless you are in North East Tokyo, but as it is pretty near a useful transportation hub, it's not really so far out of the way. They also do mail order, so if you are living in Japan rather than just visiting, it's a very good place from which to get some very good beer delivered to your door.

There's not really so much to write about the place so I'll stick to the basics. They have one of the largest selections of Japanese Craft beer I have seen (more than Tanakaya I think, certainly from a wider range of breweries). Alongside this, they stock imported beer from Belgium, Holland, the UK, Germany, the US, New Zealand, Scandinavia and a lot more countries. The selection is mainly focused on Belgium, the US and Japan though. To check out what they have and their prices, it's worth looking on their mail order site or check their facebook where they regularly post pictures of new stock. They also have a wide range of branded glassware in different styles.

I pass through Kita Senju from time to time and this shop was so good that I will definitely be popping in every time I am there. The prices were reasonable and they had a lot of stock that you really don't see around that often. It's well worth checking out, as I'm sure you'll find something that you haven't drunk before. Great place!

Japanese breweries' bottles available when I visited:
Baird
Fujizakura Kogen
Shiga Kogen
Harvestmoon
Sankt Gallen
Coedo
Oh La Ho
Baeren
Minoh
Hitachino Nest
Daisen G
Kagua
Iwatekura
Swan Lake
Loco
August
Hanyu
Yo-Ho
Kinshachi
Kuninocho
Ise Kadoya
Nasu Kogen
and more!

Opening Hours:
Daily, 10:00-22:00

Location/map
千住旭町 40-22, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
Exit Kita Senju station on the east side. If you come out on the west, there is a tunnel under the station to take you to the east side. Follow the road east, crossing the first side street and past the square. World Beer Market is on the left hand side about 50m after the square. It's tough to miss as it is on the main street and is quite a big place.



Telephone:
03-3882-2508

Links:
Website/Rakuten store
Facebook
Ratebeer listing

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Gremlin

Finally! This is the place I have been waiting for. A really nice bar, serving good beer at a good price, close to my house. Guess I have been a bit picky, but this is the kind of place I can see myself going to often, even if I have to walk 20 minutes to it, instead of the five minutes I might have hoped for. Maybe I should move house.

So, Gremlin is a great little bar in the basement restaurant area attached to Hatagaya station. This restaurant area is maybe a little dated but Gremlin is the opposite and has a very nice feel. Newly refitted with a nice design, there are seats for ten at the counter and five tables for about four people. The master is a rockabilly fan who loves real ale (which explains the music and beer choice to some extent) and is a very friendly guy. He spent some time in England, so will be able to help you if your Japanese is not good. They serve a limited food menu (delicious dressing on the salad!), but the place is focused on its beer.

They have six taps, three keg and three hand pumps and all serve Japanese craft beer. I guess it's similar to the Cat & Cask in that respect. There were a good mix of breweries and styles available and it's nice to get to try some Japanese beer on handpump. I'm not particularly a 'real ale' person, I just like to drink nice beers, rather than focus on the dispense method. However, I have to admit the 'real' version of Loco's General Winter was very nice, with the handpump adding something that you don't get from the bottle version. Beers are served in two sizes, regular and large, with most beers being ¥650 and ¥950 respectively. Occasionally, stronger beers are a little extra, but really not much more (¥50 or so). I would guess that the sizes are somewhere in the region of 250ml and 450ml, but next time I'm there, I'll ask and update.

As you may have guessed, I'm really pleased this place has opened. It's somewhere I feel that I can happily call my local. There's no cover charge and a good range of beers at good prices. For me, places like this definitely have an edge over some of the places with more taps, because these places feel like they have been opened because the owners love beer and bars, rather than love making money out of what is for some people a cash cow at the moment. As craft beer in Japan continues to grow in popularity, I hope we see more of these kind of places open. These are the ones we should be giving our money to, and I intend to do just that.

Japanese breweries on tap when I first visited:
Shiga Kogen
Nasu Kogen
Swan Lake
Coedo
Iwatekura
Loco

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday, 15:00-23:30
Closed Monday

Location/map
ゴールデンセンター B1F, 1-3-1 幡ヶ谷, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
Easy! It's in the shopping centre attached to Hatagaya station. If you are coming out of the ticket barriers, turn left, then right up the stairs, walk past McDonalds and it's on the right hand side a little way down. As it's in the station, probably no need for a map.

Telephone: 
03-6300-5723
 

Links:
Ratebeer listing
Facebook

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Regional Produce/Satellite Shops 7: Shinagawa area

A quick post on another Satellite shop that I've found. It's another Akita one, and with not as much stock as the other Akita one, but thought it was worth mentioning in case you're in the area, as there are a lot of hotels here. I also thought that maybe some more will crop up nearby, so it might be worth starting a Shinagawa post.

Akita Bisaikan


Only two breweries represented here, Akita and Tazawako, and mainly their regular beers.  There were three bottles from Aqula, all at ¥540, and four from Tazawako, at ¥513. Like I said above, there's more stock in the Yurakucho/Ginza Itchome Akita shop.

Opening hours
11.00-23.00 daily

Location/Map
ウィング高輪WEST-III, 高輪 4-10-8, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Directions
From Shinagawa JR station, leave via the Takanawa Exit (the West exit). Cross the main road and head up the hill by the side of the shopping centre. The shop is in West III in Takanawa wing. If you're going up the hill turn left and go up the stairs just before the big red Ajinomoto sign. Or use the map. Might be easier!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Brief Nagoya intermission, part 3: 23 Craft Beerz

(This is part three of my Nagoya posts. Here are parts one and two)

 
This place has recently moved making pretty much everything I wrote kind of useless. I'll strike it through but leave it here as I guess it could help you get a feel for what kind of place the new bar might be. Seems that it's not so central anymore, but I'm sure it's still worth a trip. Map and address are updated to the new location, but the picture is of the old place. Sorry.

I was a little confused at first with this name as they didn't seem to actually have 23 taps, but when we went the second time and sat at the bar, I spotted a couple of handpumps and felt thoroughly reassured. Behind the bar they have 20 taps in addition to the two handpumps and the 23rd is for some reason attached to a fridge out in the seating area. A real beer expert could probably tell you why this is. When we visited they had only 18 on and a few ran out whilst we were there, but it was pretty late on a Friday night, so I guess this is understandable. There were only seven Japanese beers on, so they are offering something a little different compared to the other two places we visited. The import taps were dominated by US imports. I seem to remember there was something Belgian and maybe a Brewdog, but things had got a bit hazy by this stage. In recent times we have been spoilt for choice with the amount of US imports we are getting in Japan. Some of them are definitely not so exciting though and there were a few of those on display here. However, the selection, aside from those ones which I consider to be less interesting, was still pretty good. The fact that they had a stack of Modern Times glasses makes me think that we were possibly just a little unlucky when we went. The place feels bigger than Keg, but there were round about the same amount of seats there (six at the counter, around 30 at tables). Most beers were served in three sizes, small medium and large (I didn't ask about ml. amounts, sorry. I didn't think I was going to post about the Nagoya places). Prices ranged from ¥500-¥800 for the small and ¥900-¥1250 for the large. Unsurprisingly, the price for the medium is somewhere in the middle. The food was nice and reasonably priced. I was delighted to find a pickled egg, as this is something I think I haven't come across outside of the UK. If I lived in Nagoya, this is somewhere I would be visiting quite regularly. The staff were enthusiastic and friendly and I reckon that you'll always be able to find something good to drink here.

Opening Hours:
Monday-Saturday, 17:00-01:00 (maybe from 15:00 on Saturday, but their facebook doesn't match their website, so who knows?)
Closed Sunday

Location/Map:
内山 3-22-11, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya



Telephone:
052-753-6003

Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Ratebeer entry

So, three good places, two particularly good ones. It was nice that we didn't encounter a cover charge anywhere in Nagoya. People say that the prices are a little high, but coming from Tokyo the difference wasn't so apparent. I think Kyoto and Osaka people might notice the difference a little more. Also, all three places were non-smoking which is nice too. There seems to be a trend towards to non-smoking recently which for me is very welcome indeed. Like I said, Nagoya is not so difficult to get to from Tokyo if you take the Shinkansen, but it guess it's not something you could really do every week (unless you are very rich indeed), but it was definitely worth the visit. Y Market is close enough to the main station (10 minutes walk) for you to stop off there for a couple of beers if you are passing through and have a JR rail pass. Perhaps the next time I make it down to Aichi there will be more places open, but with these three, they already have enough to entertain you for a weekend of boozing.

Brief Nagoya intermission, part 2: Keg Nagoya

(This is part two of my Nagoya posts. Here are parts one and three)


Our second stop and one of the three places in Nagoya that are owned by the company that runs Y. Market (the other two being Grillman and naturally, the Y. Market taproom). Keg is a lot smaller than Y. Market, with only 6 seats at the bar and seating for around 30 others. Beers are served in the US measures of 9oz (266ml) and 14oz (414ml), so smaller measures than Y. Market. The prices are generally the same across the board, ¥800 and ¥1200 respectively, so actually pretty expensive. They have 12 taps, all of Japanese craft beer, with some more unusual stuff making an appearance. This is probably the first place I have seen Ohya on tap. They only had one Y. Market beer on and this was one that they were also serving at Y. Market, which was a little disappointing but I guess perfectly understandable. The food seemed pizza focused and the pizza we had was very nice. Apparently this place was the trailblazer of Craft Beer in Nagoya, but I can't help but feel it has got left behind a little bit by newer places. Still a good place to go though, but just seems less exciting as the two other places were very good.

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-14:00, 17:00-23:00
Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 11:30-22:00 

Location/Map:
1-10-13 東桜, Higashi-ku, Nagoya



Telephone:
052-971-8211

Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Ratebeer entry

Brief Nagoya intermission, part 1: Y. Market

(This is part one of my Nagoya posts. Here are parts two and three. These were originally one post, hence there being a kind of introduction on this one and a conclusion on the third one)

I wasn't going to post about my recent trip to Nagoya, but I was encouraged to do so. This will be a bit less detailed post (actually, now three posts...), than usual, as I think it's a bit out of the remit of this blog, but I guess Nagoya isn't so much further away from Tokyo (at least time-wise, by Shinkansen) than some of the other places I have mentioned. For a more in depth view of Nagoya's best beer destinations, check out the Nagoya Beer Drinker blog (link to be added when someone makes the blog...). After doing my usual pre-trip research on ratebeer and asking some of my friends, it seemed that there were nowhere near as many places in Nagoya as there are in Tokyo; on ratebeer only 15 as opposed to 137 in Tokyo. Although many of these Tokyo places are maybe not worth bothering with. We were only in Nagoya two days, so had to be a bit picky, but it probably speaks volumes that two of the places we went to on the first day, we revisited on the second. So without further ado, hear is my very incomprehensive Nagoya rundown (or at least, part one of my Nagoya rundown. Here are parts two and three).


I would imagine that this would be the first stop for any beer lover visiting Nagoya. In fact this was probably one of the main reasons we went to Nagoya. Y. Market is certainly one of the most exciting new breweries in Japan at the moment. The brewery is on the ground floor and the taproom above it. It's fairly large (on the second day they were closing early for a private party for 70 people so this should give you an idea of the size). There are about 10 seats at the bar and then a selection of tables spread around a light and spacious room. They have eight taps, but only six were on when we were there, so there's room for some expansion, although it seems fairly popular already. Beers were served in two sizes, 330ml for ¥650 and 490ml for ¥950 (price was a tiny bit higher for the 10.2% 'W Market IPA' but not significantly so). The food is mainly Mexican based and not particularly veggie friendly. It was a shame that the usual veggie go-to foods had meat intruding on them (the fries were covered in chicken oil or something like that. Probably exciting for non-vegetarians, but a shame for us). The pickled jalapenos were very nice though, although I couldn't taste much immediately after the first couple of slices. If you like Y. Market beers, and I've yet to find someone who doesn't, it's definitely worth visiting.

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 15:00-23:00
Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 11:30-22:00

Location/Map:
名駅 4-17-6, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya


 
Telephone:
052-533-5151

Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Ratebeer entry

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Craft Beer Stand Turquoise

Another short post, this time on a small bar in Ogikubo tucked away down an alley, with not so many taps, but a nice feel to it.

- 5 taps of Japanese craft beer, served in three sizes, small (200ml), medium (280ml) and large (430ml). All beers are priced the same, from small to large, ¥500, ¥700 and ¥950. Good range of breweries and styles on offer. Taplist shared on their facebook page when beers change.
- Around 20 bottles, mainly Japanese craft but with a couple of Brewdogs. Selection seems to change as the bottle menu is written on the blackboard behind the bar.
- Pretty small, with seats for around 12, but 12 would be a bit of a squeeze.
- Nice food, reasonably priced. Classy dips for their chips (French fries for non-Brits).
- Unfortunately seems to be a smoking place, but when we were there, no-one was. There were ashtrays though. Looks like you can stand outside though.

A nice place and glad I made it out here. I tried once before but didn't check they were open before I came and they weren't, so ended up in Ogikubo Beer Kobo instead. These two together would be a nice Ogikubo night out. The good prices mean that it's definitely worth popping in if you're in the area. When I find myself back in Ogikubo again, I'll do exactly that!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Fujizakura Kogen
Coedo
Shonan
Ise Kadoya
Yo-Ho

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

Location/map:
上荻1-4-9, Suginami-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-5930-1888

Links:

Facebook

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Sunday, 28 September 2014

iBeer Le Sun Palm


A rival for Craft Beer Server Land in the crazy named bar competition. Shopping centre craft beer bar in the food court on the 7th floor of Hikarie in Shibuya. Seems to be very much targeted at Hikarie's regular shopping crowd (women in their twenties).

- 12 taps of Japanese craft beer and about 30 bottles from around the world. Beer served in two sizes, 240ml (¥490-¥530) and 470ml (¥880-¥930). But 8% tax is not included in these prices, but is added on at the end.
- Selection is pretty safe but solid and they do have their own house beers by Ise Kadoya.
- Nice Japanese pub food and fairly generous portions
- Lots of seats and lots of staff (who might not exactly be beer experts...)
- It's a shopping centre bar, so you know what to expect, but it's a fun place and worth popping in if you're in Hikarie. However, maybe not one for beer geeks (although I did get three new ticks there).

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Shiga Kogen
Ise Kadoya
Hitachino Nest
Johana
Coedo
Harvestmoon
Swan Lake

Opening Hours:
Monday - Saturday, 11:00-23:30
Sunday, 11:00-23:00

Location/map
ヒカリエ 7F, 渋谷 2-21-1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(Hikarie is attached to Shibuya station, so a map seems a little pointless)

Telephone:
03-6419-7496
 

Links:
Le Sun Palm group facebook 
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Good Meals Shop

Recently, given the huge number of new places opening, its has become a little tough to keep up. My list of bars that I need to check out is getting longer and is maybe even out of control. New places are being added quicker than I can visit them with my limited free time. So many new places also means that I am getting pickier about what I want to add to this blog. This seems a bit unfair though, as places are of different uses for different people. What is out of the way for some is local for others. And given that different people like different things, I feel like some places which might not cut it for a full write up on here should at least be mentioned and logged, so that if you find yourself in an unfamiliar area of town, you'll be able to find yourself a good beer nearby. So here is the first of these more concise posts (although given this lengthy introduction, it's becoming a bit less concise). I'll still try to give all the relevant information, but will reduce it to bullet points, and you might have to find your own way there. (I'll still put a map on, but you can work out the directions yourself).


Good Meals Shop is a fairly new, cafe/restaurant/bar/bottle shop about ten minutes from Shibuya station towards Ebisu.

- Focus on imported beers (there was nothing Japanese) with around 25 different bottles and cans from De Molen, Brewdog, Stone, Rogue, Avery, Mikkeller, Tiny Rebel and Victory (when I visited). Prices for drinking in ranged from around ¥600-¥1000. One tap too. And takeaway prices are around a couple of hundred yen cheaper.
- 2nd floor is the cafe/bar, 3rd floor a restaurant. Cafe/bar is open all day.
- 2nd floor offers some small snacks, but the nuts were very expensive for the size of the serving!
- Great selection of bottle openers if that's your thing.

Japanese breweries available when I visited:
None

Opening Hours:
2nd Floor
Monday - Saturday, 12:00-24:00
Closed Sunday
3rd Floor
Monday - Saturday, 12:00-16:00 & 18:00-24:00
Closed Sunday

Location/map
東 1-25-5, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:03-6805-1893

Links:

Website

Ratebeer listing

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Craft Beer Moon Light

A brief post today to get me back in the mood for adding to this blog as it has been tough to find time recently. Craft Beer Moon Light is in Noborito on the Odakyu line (and JR Nambu line too) and as it is fairly easy for me to get to, I have been thinking about popping in for a while. I've heard various things about their beers, most of it not overly complimentary, but have also heard that it's a nice place to visit if you don't expect too much. This probably did mirror my feelings fairly accurately, but as a beer optimist I prefer to focus on the good parts.
Moon Light is a brewpub and has been open for a few years now. On our visit it seemed pretty popular with the locals. There are around 30 seats at various size tables and a small counter and the place has an all round nice feel to it. They have six taps of their own beer and also serve some nice food at good prices. The beers come in three sizes, I'm guessing around 250ml, 400ml and 600ml. The regular and lower alcohol beers cost a bargain ¥300, ¥500 and ¥700. The speciality and higher alcohol beers are a little more expensive at ¥500, ¥700 and ¥900. Service is at the counter, and make sure you take your glass back to the collection point as they are very keen on this! For me the beers varied in quality. Some were nice and some quite strange. I really liked their Dunkelweizen but their Tripel was particularly strange, although kind of intriguing too. They also do beer for takeaway. I believe you bring your own pet bottle!
If you are anywhere approaching a beer snob, this is probably not the place for you. But it is a good fun place. I will pop in again if I am in the area, and I guess it's nice to have somewhere like this in your neighbourhood. The beers seem to rotate fairly regularly and they have a big list of their different brews in their menu. (Although only the ones on wall are available though of course). So, definitely worth a try, I think.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Moon Light

Opening Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 16:30-23:00
Saturday & Sunday, 11:30-23:00
Closed Tuesday

Location/map
登戸1818, 多摩区, Kawasaki, Kanagawa

Directions:
Moon Light is fairly close to both Noborito and Mukogaokayuen Odakyu stations. As it's slightly closer I'll give directions from the latter. From Mukogaokayuen station, leave by the north exit. Take the road on the right past the bus station and continue till you get to the traffic lights. At this junction, turn left, cross the next main road and the pub is on the left hand side about 100m after you cross.



Telephone:
044-930-1018

Links:

Website 
Facebook
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Friday, 5 September 2014

Beer Keyaki Autumn Festival


Firstly, sorry for the lack of posts recently. I was on holiday and since coming back have been too busy to make it to any new places. Actually, too busy to make it to any bars at all really.
Secondly, a very short post to inform you that it's coming up to Keyaki time again. This time it's five days long from Friday the 19th September till Tuesday the 23rd (conveniently, and not, I suspect coincidentally, a holiday). And it's inside this time, in the Saitama Super Arena, which means the toilet situation is a bit better and there's more seats (if you get there early). I think I'll be heading up there for three of the five days. Open from 11:00-21:30 except for the last day when it finishes at 19:00. All the details are on their website or you can check last year's post for directions and the like.
It really is a great festival. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Beach Muffin/Tap Room Michi Kusa (Yorocco Beer)

Today, a place a bit out of Tokyo and not open so often. So far, so inconvenient (for me anyway). However, Beach Muffin could be my dream come true in a few ways. I had been meaning to go here for a while but hadn't quite managed it. Beach Muffin is the tap room for Yorocco beer, and I have enjoyed the beers I have had from them, but it also serves vegetarian friendly food. The offer of veggie tacos and Yorocco beer during a long bank holiday weekend was too much to resist for me, so I finally made it there.
Firstly, I should point out that even if Beach Muffin is open, it doesn't necessarily mean that the tap room will be. The cafe is open daily (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) but the tap room is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for limited times (although outside of these times they do have one tap available). These are also only the summer opening times, so if you are going at another time of year, best check their website. The building itself is lovely, the inside looking like an old Japanese house spread over a couple of levels with lots of nooks and crannies with chairs, tables and sofas in. It's difficult to accurately estimate the capacity, but I reckon there are seats for around 30 at a variety of table sizes. They don't take reservations, so if you are heading there from a long way away, it might be worth turning up earlier rather than later. The decor is homely and comfortable, the furniture is recycled from a variety of sources by the looks of it. There is plenty of greenery spread around and I can't emphasize enough how nice it felt.
Onto the beer. On Fridays and weekends they have all five taps going. They are also quickly replaced as they run out. Consequently, as we were there for a few hours, we got to sample six of their beers even though they have only five taps. All beers are ¥800 and served in a Belgian style tulip glass in servings of around 300-350ml (I estimate, possibly badly). There were a variety of styles on offer (a smoked fruit beer, saison, Pale, couple of IPAs) but nothing dark when we visited. However, I believe they sometimes have their porter on, and I have had a stout by them in the past, so they do make these kind of beers if that's your thing. Along with this they serve a selection of snacks and you can always order from the cafe menu if you need something more substantial.
I really liked this place, although I may have just been lucky to visit on the perfect day for me (vegetarian Mexican food!). I suspect though that it's always a nice place to drink. I like Yorocco beers and you don't often get the chance to try them outside of Zushi. It only takes about an hour from Tokyo to get to Zushi and then it's around a 15 minute walk. There's no cover charge and it really is a pleasant place to drink. I will be interested to see what they do when it isn't summer as I am sure that less people go to Zushi when it's not beach season. When I find out, I'll update on here. Hopefully I'll be able to make it down there again before the summer is finished, and if you need to break up the journey back to Tokyo, you could always stop off in Yokohama!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Yorocco

Opening Hours:
Summer 2014 (will try to update this as we go, but if not, check the Yorocco website)
Friday, 17.00 - 22:00
Saturday, 12:00 - 22:00
Sunday, 12:00 - 19:00
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 12:00 - 18:00 (one tap only)
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Autumn 2014 (hours cut back a bit)
Friday, 17:00-22:00
Saturday, 17:00-22:00
Sunday, 12:00-18:00

Location/map
桜山 8-3-22, Zushi, Kanagawa

Directions:
Firstly get to Zushi or Shinzushi stations. Then check the map below. The directions are a bit too long and possibly confusing to type. Sorry! As you can see, the route from Zushi station is a little further, but goes right past Shinzushi station, hence, just the one map.


View Tokyo Beer Drinker Map in a larger map


Telephone:
0468-72-5204

Links:
Beach Muffin website

Yorocco Beer website 
Beach Muffin Facebook
Yorocco Facebook
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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Miyata Beer

Today, Miyata Beer, a fairly new brewpub based in Oshiage. It's good to see that we are getting new breweries and brewpubs rather than just new pubs as there were so many new places opening that I was worrying that we were going to run out of beer.
Miyata Beer seems to be very much a one-man operation. On the night we visited the brewer was manning the bar. To be honest, it's a small place, so there probably wouldn't be much room for anyone else. The premises is a medium sized room, but most of this is divided off into the brewing area. The bar area that takes up the rest of the space is L-shaped and has seating for around ten and a little standing room for a few more. It seems that it is very much a locals place. Many of the customers seemed to know the brewer, so I guess this shows that places in this vein can prosper. I know if there was somewhere like this near where I lived I would pop in for a drink pretty regularly. They don't serve food, apart from a snack selection (nuts and pretzels etc., ¥500). So this is focused on beer I guess.
They had five taps, but on the evening we went they only had three in operation. As I always say, I think this is sensible. Better to keep the beer fresh and expand when the demand arises. The three beers they had on were Pale, Golden and IPA. Judging by the previous beers they have had on, it seems that they are concentrating mainly on these kind of styles at the moment. Was nice though to see that they have done some dry-hopped pale ales before. The beers are served in two sizes, M and L (I guess the usual 300ml and US pint approximately, or at least as well as I could judge). Prices for the M ranged from ¥600-¥700 and the L, ¥800-¥900. All the beers had the date they were brewed by the taps, so if you are a freshness sucker, you'll know which one to go for.
So, another brewpub in Tokyo. Definitely a good trend. It is still very much early days for Miyata Beer, but I was pleased to be able to visit them and give them my support. Along with Campion, just over the river in Asakusa, the East of Tokyo is becoming a bit of a beer destination. I'm sure that as time passes and they tweak their recipes this place will become more popular. Although it seemed to be already doing fine enough with its locals when we went. At the moment they are only open at the weekend, but maybe as demand increases these hours will also be extended.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Miyata

Opening Hours:
Friday, 17.00 - around 23:00
Saturday, Sunday and holidays 15:00 - around 23:00
Closed Monday-Thursday

Location/map
横川 3-9-7, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
From Oshiage station, leave via exit B2 and turn right. Take the sixth right turn (the fourth set of traffic lights) and Miyata is on the right hand side just after the first side street. 

Telephone:
03-3626-2239

Links:
Website 
Ratebeer listing
Twitter

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Nomono

Another station beer shop. Once again, inside the barriers, this time at Akihabara. I will keep this reasonably brief as there's not a great deal to say! Thanks to Phil for the tip. Check out his blog Kansai Beer Lovers. Seems like there is also one of these at Ueno, but I haven't been there yet, and I guess it is pretty much the same.
Nomono is reminiscent of a smaller Le Collier, smaller in the size of the shop and also in its selection. However, it's still worth popping in if you are passing through Akihabara station. I guess one advantage of it being inside the ticket barriers is that if you are only going through the station on the Yamanote, it doesn't cost you anything to get off and have a look. This is helpful as I don't often find myself going to Akihabara.
There were around 60 bottles and cans of Japanese craft beer from around 15-20 breweries, some not worth mentioning below, but there was plenty of good stuff there to be of interest. Prices ranged from ¥300 to around ¥500, so as you would expect. In addition to the usual suspects, I noticed some seasonals from Baeren, Fujizakura and Sankt Gallen which might give you a reason to pop in if you don't like drinking the same thing more than once.

Japanese breweries bottles/cans available when I visited:
Baeren
Tazawako
Fukushima
Zumona
Fujizakura
Yo-Ho
Iwatekura
Oh La Ho
Hitachino Nest
Sankt Gallen

Opening Hours:
Daily, 11.00 - 21:00

Directions
Nice and easy. It's inside the barriers at Akihabara station, right by the central gate. That's all you need to know. So, no map this time. Also, not much point putting the address, but if you want to see roughly where it is, here's a link to the location.

Links:
Website

Facebook 
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