Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sendai intermission part 1: Craftsman Sendai

(This was originally one post rounding up Sendai, but now it has been split into separate entries. The other places are mentioned in part 2 and part 3)

[To see all the Sendai posts on this blog, click here]

Another trip out of Tokyo for football, and once again I thought it was worth mentioning some places on here. I didn't bother with Fukuoka when we went there a few weeks ago as it seemed just a little too far. But Sendai is only an hour and a half from Tokyo (which surprised me, but really just shows up my lack of Japanese geographical knowledge). It may seem ironic, given that I have in the past lamented the effort that it takes to keep this blog up to date, but I have started another blog about my football team. The football blog seems somehow easier to keep up to date than this one. Probably given that several new football teams aren't opening every week. My problems with not being able to visit all these new bars are a lack of available time (most places are only open in the evening and on most of them I have to work), lack of available health (come on, we're all drinking too much if we're honest. A nice bout of gout will convince you if you are doubting) and a reluctance to spend an evening going to somewhere that might not be very different from many other bars when I could be going to somewhere I actually enjoy. Anyway, don't think that I'm not going to be updating this blog anymore. It's still a priority and I have been greatly assisted recently by some much appreciated help from some generous people. Thanks to you all! So, apologies for this lengthy preamble which could have been more succinctly stated as 'I went to Sendai, so here are some bars' and on with the post.

I was looking forward to giving the Craftsman chain another chance. Some people seemed to think I was being a bit harsh with my comments on the Yokohama branch. Others said that they had experienced the same kind of things there though. Hope that they can sort out their issues. Needless to say, the Sendai branch was much more like what I had expected after being told about the chain in the past. It does seem to be the case that they are pretty similar to Craft Beer Markets but things seem to be done to a bit of a higher level (aside from Yokohama...). The food is pretty classy and the pours and service at Sendai were great. Pleased to be back on side with them and looking forward to going to Craft & Romance which I have been intending to visit for a while now.

- 31 taps, 28 of which are craft beer, the majority being Japanese stuff. Menu is divided by style and there are a decent mix of beer types and breweries. Small is ¥520 and regular ¥790, probably about 250ml and US pint. Beer flight of three 150ml glasses for ¥1100 isn't the greatest deal if you are looking for value for money, but works pretty well if you are looking to try a few things. And this time there were plenty of beers that we were interested in drinking. No cover charge but tax is added on at the end.
- Nice atmosphere at lunchtime. Comfy booth like sofa seats, a few counter areas. Decent size and nice decor. Like the fact that they are very into the 'eat local' concept. There were some beers from the local area but I was hoping for a few more, but this is only a minor gripe. Certainly local beers were more prevalent here than in CBM. Food was good too. Margherita didn't have squid in it. What were they thinking in Yokohama?!
- Pretty close to the main Sendai station and open during the day at the weekend. I think this is a great first stop, straight off the train.

Japanese breweries recently seen on tap:
Fujizakura Kogen
Swan Lake
Hitachino Nest
Tainai Kogen
Ise Kadoya
Romantic Village

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-01:00 (website says all day, but facebook shows these times)
Saturday & Sunday, 11:30-01:00

中央 2-2-38, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi-ken



Ratebeer entry

So Sendai is a bit of a mix. Along with the bars I have mentioned (on this and the other posts linked to above) there are quite a few more establishments with a few taps to try out. My advice if you are visiting is to pick up a copy of the Sendai beer map (made by the master of Amber Rondo) and dig a little deeper. I really enjoyed Sendai. The locals seemed friendly, the places seem to stay open very late and it seems that people there like to drink a lot. One thing which was a bit of a shame is that in the two chains, there weren't so many local beers. I was hoping to drink more local stuff but CBM and Craftsman had pretty similar selections to what you would expect to see elsewhere. This is definitely a city I want to come back and visit again next season and I'd like to explore a little more next time.

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