Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Yona Yona Beer Kitchen

Opened fairly recently, Yona Yona Beer Kitchen is the Tokyo taproom of Nagano's Yo-Ho brewery. Situated in a slightly swanky shopping complex opposite Akasakamitsuke station, it's a fairly swish place, with plenty of seating (120!), which seems to be aimed mainly at the local salarymen and women to go to for work do's. Not to say it isn't worth checking out, especially if you like Yo-Ho's beers, but bear in mind that when we visited it was fully booked, so you might have to pick your time wisely.
From a beer point of view, you won't be surprised to hear that the focus is on Yo-Ho beers. They had eight regular taps and two handpumps of their own stuff varying from the widely available to some more obscure selections. In addition to this, they had one special (their own beer) and four international guests (Thornbridge, Epic, Left Hand). Beers come in a variety of sizes, but the majority are offered in regular (400ml), and small (looked around 200ml) glasses. In addition to this, the two handpumps were served in medium size (probably about 300ml), as were the guests. Regular size costs ¥680-¥730, small, ¥450-¥480, and for the two handpump beers, the medium was ¥730. Guests were all ¥850. The prices look pretty reasonable, but you have to consider that the majority of them are their own beers and they also are in smaller glasses than most other places. The pricing did make me feel a little like it wasn't really aimed at me, or possibly even at people who weren't putting things on expenses.
I'm not going to go into too much detail in this post, as I think I've pretty much mentioned most of the things you need to know. If you love Yo-Ho beers, this is the place for you, and they do have a few that you don't see around very often. The guests felt a bit uninspiring for me, but maybe I'm a snob, or maybe I was unlucky. It's another place in what is becoming a crowded market in Tokyo, and I had a nice enough time there, but can't really imagine I'll go back very often. However, there is no cover charge and, almost unheard of in Tokyo, it is open all day! So, maybe I will be back after all. (One thing though, apparently they don't serve between 15:00 and 16:00, so if you want to drink at these times you have to be in there and order before 15:00. Bit of a strange policy!) Oh, and sorry, the photo is especially bad this time!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Yo-Ho

Opening Hours:
Daily 11:30-23:00

Location/map
東急プラザ 赤坂2階, 永田町 2-14-3, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
For once, some really easy directions! Go to Akasakamitsuke station and leave by exit 10 (turn left at the top of the escalators). Cross the main road and Yona Yona Beer Kitchen is on the second floor of the Tokyu Plaza complex opposite the station. Because it's so simple, it's not really worth putting a map on here. Just cross the road!

Telephone:
03-5510-4789

Links:

Website
Facebook page
Ratebeer listing
Twitter

Monday, 17 February 2014

Craft Beer and Whisky Bar Stone

Today, a brief entry on Stone in Asagaya. Brief, because it doesn't really have much of a focus on Japanese beers, but an entry all the same, as it is a great place to go and have a nice beer.
Stone's focus is hoppy beers, and unsurprisingly this means it is skewed towards US imports (with some Mikkeller and BrewDog in there too). They do however have a Japanese house beer in this style made by a mystery Japanese brewery. (He won't tell you if you ask!) They have ten taps and one handpump and the beers are served in two sizes, small and large. The large looks somewhere in the region of 500ml and the small maybe around 300ml, but I'm not very good at judging volume so give me a bit of slack! In general, the large costs from ¥1200-¥1300 and the small ¥900-¥1000. The house beer, called Hop Addict is much cheaper though (¥950 large, ¥750 small). As well as the taps they have a few bottles in the fridge, which are in a similar vein to the taps. And a lot of whisky, but as this is something I know nothing about, I can't really comment on that.
Stone is a nice comfortable place with seating for ten at the counter, four more at another counter and space for around 15 or so at tables. The food looked nice, but unfortunately I didn't try it. Next time!
Be careful on your way in or out as the steps are pretty steep! If you are a fan of hoppy and bitter beers this is definitely a place for you to try, but don't come here if you are looking for Japanese craft beers as aside from the house beer (which is great), there isn't really much for you. However, there is no cover charge, so it is perfectly possible to just pop in for the house beer. Well worth combining a trip here with a visit to Bakushu Dojo which is about 15 minutes walk away.

Update: 
Stone also now offers take away bottles. The selection has increased and is heavy on Nagano Trading and Ezo imports. There is a ¥100 fee for drinking on site. Pretty great deal really!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Not sure... just the one but it's a mystery.

Opening Hours:
Monday-Wednesday, 18.00-02.00
Friday, 18.00-02.00
Saturdays and Sundays, 15.00-02.00

Location/map 
2F 田嶋店舗, 阿佐ヶ谷北 2-4-2, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

Directions:
From Asagaya station, leave via the north exit and turn left. Follow the road alongside the tracks and go right when it bends round. Immediately at the next junction turn left. Carry on down this street and Stone is on the second floor just after the third turning on the right. Look out for the door pictured above, although as there is a lot of signage, it should be hard to miss if you follow this route. 



Telephone:
03-5373-0312

Links:

Website
Facebook page
Ratebeer listing
Twitter