Thursday, 28 January 2016

Hikawa Brewery


Post by Mothy

Hikawa Brewery is a small place, but in an area that doesn't have much in the way of craft beer. It's located less than a ten minute walk from Omiya Station near the Hikawa Shrine and Omiya Park. The interior prominently features, you guessed it, wood. It has counter seating for 15 and four small tables that can sit maybe 10 more.
They have 10 taps in theory, but none of the times I've been in there have they had 10 beers on tap. Usually it's been more like half of that. This time they had four - an amber, a fruit, a weizen, and a special New Year ale. Their beer isn't the greatest but good enough. As far as I know they never have guest beers. That's a guess from going there a few times and a perusal of their Facebook page. The price varies a little bit by style, running ¥980-¥1110 for a pint (UK) and ¥580-¥600 for a half pint (290 ml). Not bad at all, relatively, but beware, tax is added at the end, so you'll be paying a little more.
Other things of interest: No table charge and no smoking. Their food is not that interesting but not bad. Standard Japanese European. They also sell their beer to take away fresh poured in PET bottles. ¥1100 for 500ml and ¥2100 for 1000ml. I can't see me doing this under normal circumstances, but Omiya Park is popular for hanami, so popping by and getting some craft beer to go before spreading my tarp under the cherry blossoms has some appeal.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Hikawa

Opening Hours:

Monday & Wednesday-Friday, 17:30-22:30
Saturday, 16:00-22:30
Sunday & Holidays, 16:00-20:00

Sometimes they open for lunch. Their website gives more details about their lunch days.

Location/map:
高鼻町 1-36-1, Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama



Telephone:
048-783-5123

Links:
Website
Facebook
Ratebeer listing

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Lodi


Post by James

Lodi is a smoke free cafe-bar which is only about 20 seconds from Nakanosakaue station (exit A1).

- The counter seats around seven and there is a separate counter/table that can accommodate about four. It was a busy night when I went and there were quite a few standing customers too. This makes it a really good place to go on your own and chat to people.
- There are four domestic taps and one US import. Beers come in two sizes. The bigger size looks like it might be an American pint. Prices are generally around ¥1100. A glass costs around ¥700 yen, but I didn't check how big this was. [Looks like they post their beer list on their twitter]. For non-beer drinkers they have six US wines available by the glass and coffee. I tried the coffee and thought it was excellent.
- Lodi also has live music sometimes (usually a charge for this). The schedule is posted on the homepage. There is no charge except when they have live music.

Overall, this is a good place to go on your own and meet people. Good beer and coffee. Lodi is a minutes walk from the Highlander Inn and about seven minutes walk from the Hangover so it makes a rather good Nakanosakaue pub crawl if you go to all three.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Y Market
Tama No Megumi 
Brimmer
Beer Buddy

Opening Hours:

Monday-Friday, Cafe time 11:45-14:30, Bar time 17:00-24:00
Saturday & Holidays, 17:00-23:00
 
Location/map:

アクロスシティ中野坂上, 中央 1-38-1, Nakano-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
050-1141-6227


Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Ratebeer listing

Monday, 25 January 2016

Smith (NOW CLOSED)


THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED
Post by James

Smith is a modern restaurant/bar. I went at lunch time and was given a lunch menu but no beer menu. The other customers were mainly ladies taking a break from shopping and a few couples. The only other customer on their own was a woman knitting (can't say I've ever seen that in a bar before). I ordered lunch and asked to see the beer menu.

There is a small counter as you go in which seats about six. The rest of the bar/restaurant is split into smoking and non-smoking. Both areas are big. The menu says it seats 100 inside and 30 on the terrace.

They have eight taps and beers are served in two sizes, regular (400ml) and small (240ml) and cost from ¥960-¥1190 and ¥590-¥760 respectively. There is also a taster set of three beers for ¥990 but you can't choose which three you get. I tried Ise Kadoya's Imperial Red which was good and I felt I had to try the house beer, Smith IPA, but I wasn't too impressed with the lack of hoppiness. There are plenty of good beers on the menu though. The beer selection seems to be slightly weighted in favour of Japanese stuff over imports. There is no cover charge and there is a happy hour everyday until 7pm. During the happy hour all regular sized beers are ¥200 off. They don't seem to offer any discount on the half size during the happy hour. Anyway during the happy hour it is a pretty cheap place to drink. However, the prices above don't include tax.

Overall this is a big restaurant/bar which might be good for a party or if you want to enjoy lunch or dinner with a beer or two. It feels a bit strange if you come on your own during the day. The lunch food was pretty good and so was the coffee. The nearest station is Meijijingumae. Take exit 7 and turn right. Smith is on the fourth floor of the building pictured above, about 100m from exit 7.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Hitachino Nest

Hansharo
Shonan
Ise Kadoya
Baird
Minamishinshu

Opening Hours:

Sunday-Thursday, Lunch 12:00-15:30, Dinner 17:30-23:00
Friday, Saturday & the day before a holiday, Lunch 12:00-15:30, Dinner 17:30-24:00
 
Location/map:
 

Qプラザ原宿4F, 神宮前 6-28-6, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6419-7789

Links:
Website
Facebook
Ratebeer listing

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Sekiya


Post by Iain

Ever since the Disk Union in Kunitachi closed my visits there have been few and far between, but I was happy to make an exception for Sekiya. Attached to the Seiyu store on the south side of the station, it's a good spot to pick up staples or more unusual bottled beers.

When you enter the shop beers are on the left, with spirits & nihonshu on the right (downstairs is a rather pleasant wine cave). The main attraction is a fridge with around 200 different bottled beers. There is another unit with the usual suspects and chuhais etc, along with some of the more common craft beers like Ao-oni & Yona Yona. Japanese beers on offer seemed to centre around products from Hitachino Nest, Ozeno, and Sankt Gallen, but there were also a good number from Ishikawa Brewery and Umenishiki which personally I don't see that often.

Some of the more unusual (to me) bottles were San Michele Manon from Italy, and Traquair 50 Anniversary Ale, so along with a good selection of UK, USA, Belgian and German beers this could end up being a regular stop. They also sell Belgian beer glasses. Just wish that Disk Union was still there ...

Japanese breweries available when I visited:
Hitachino Nest

Oze No Yukidoke
Sankt Gallen
Tama No Megumi (Ishikawa)
Umenishiki
Yo-Ho

Opening Hours:

Sunday-Thursday, 11:00-22:00
Friday & Saturday, 11:00-23:00
 
Location/map:

せきやビル 1F/B1F, 中1-9-30, Kunitachi, Tokyo



Telephone:
042-576-3111

Links:
Facebook page
Website
Twitter
Blog

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Riddle


Post by James

This place is basically a cafe that also does good beer, wine and coffee. That said, it has a very nice atmosphere and was surprisingly lively when I popped in. I would certainly go in again when I next find myself in Otsuka.

- There is an L-shaped counter which seats about nine. There is another counter facing the large window. This seats five. There are three small tables which each seat two.
- Only two taps of craft. The beers come in two sizes, regular and half. The regular looked about 400ml but I'm only guessing. Today's taps are posted on their Facebook page. (Looks like it's usually US imports with an occasional Japanese beer). Prices for the regular size were ¥1100 and ¥1150. Not cheap, but not that different from a lot of other places.
- There were about 30 bottles and cans in the fridge and plenty of them looked good. I don't know the price range of the bottles.
- Business hours are split into three 'times': lunch time, cafe time and bar time. You can't order any substantial food during the cafe time.
- Open seven days a week and the menu says that the New Year period is their only holiday.
- Free Wifi!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Hitachino Nest


Opening Hours:

Daily, 11:00-24:00
 
Location/map:

南大塚 3-47-8, Toshima-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6912-8331

Links:
Facebook page
Website
Twitter

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Highlander Inn

 
Post by James

Highlander Inn is the sister shop of a hotel/bar on the Speyside trail hence the Inn in the name. It has one of the best selections of whisky in Japan and all the staff are very knowledgeable when it comes to whisky. They also know their beer.

- Beer sizes are half pints and pints. All pints are the full British 568ml. Half pints are ¥700 or ¥800 yen and pints are ¥1200 or ¥1300. There are 5 constantly changing taps of craft. Recently one is usually cider, two are Scottish and two are American. But it can vary a lot. On my latest trip the beers were Original Sin pear cider, Heretic Session IPA, Broadside IPA, Black Isle Porter and Brewdog Hardcore IPA
- No cover charge. 
- There is a counter with 7 seats and there is table seating for about 14
Other important info: The staff are very friendly indeed and often give you free samples on your way out. There is no Japanese beer here and smoking is allowed so it can get very smoky indeed. Despite the smoke I love this place.  

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
None


Opening Hours:

Daily, 17:30-24:00
 
Location/map:

中央 2-1-6, B1F, Nakano-ku, Tokyo

 

Telephone:
03-3366-2588

Links:
Unofficial Facebook page

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Help!

Just a quick post today to plead for help again. As you may have heard me complaining recently, it's taking a lot of time and money to try to keep this site even moderately up to date nowadays. The huge amount of new places that are opening is too much work for just one person, particularly given that I seem to be addicted to going only to Gremlin. It is with this in mind that I have decided to see if anyone would be interested in giving me a hand with Tokyo Beer Drinker. My backlog of places to go to is currently at 50 places. It seems that even if I manage to visit and add a few new places, a few more will have opened, so I'm not making much progress.
So, if you would like to contribute to getting a few (or many) places done I would really appreciate it. If you are interested, please send me an email at the address listed on the right hand side and I'll send you my list and see if you fancy doing any of them. Even if you don't want to write anything, but can collect the usual info I post and can take a photo, it would be gratefully received. Given that the site makes absolutely no money, I can't offer you anything more than your name in lights (or at least attached to your writing) and my eternal gratitude. Hmmm, maybe I have made this sound less appealing than I thought it would. Anyway, let me know if you can give me a hand and help out your fellow beer lovers. Cheers!