Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Beer Cafe Vertere
I have been looking forward to visiting Vertere for a while, mainly because of their unique location in the mountains, two hours out of Tokyo, but actually still in Tokyo. I actually didn’t realise until fairly recently that they had now started making their own beer and this, along with a nice Silver Week holiday from my work gave me the perfect reason to make the trip. To be honest, it wasn’t actually that bad. The change of train at Ome is very easy and the times link up nicely if you chose the right trains. Probably worth taking a book though as until you get to Ome, the scenery is not very exciting. After Ome though the train winds its way through a valley up to the town of Okutama. There is apparently lots of nice hiking around here, but we settled for having a quick look off the side of a couple of bridges and then went to Vertere shortly after opening.
As suggested above the place has a great location. It’s half way up a mountain next to a river (you might be able to see it if you are in the garden and stretch a little, but as the weather was bad, we were sitting indoors so can’t really say for sure). The building looks a bit like a converted house and the seating area with a counter for four and tables for about 30 is light and airy with plenty of wood. There is also a nice garden with seating for probably about the same which I’m sure would be great in the summer. When we visited they had a small photo exhibition on too, which is another thing to look at whilst enjoying your beers.
They have a total of ten taps, divided into three categories, Prototype (five taps), Experimental (two taps) and Guest (three taps). The first seems to be their regular beers (Golden, Session IPA, Red IPA, Weizen and Cream), being tweaked batch by batch. As at the Bakushu Kobo places, the batch number is noted on the menu. The experimental section seems to be their seasonal beers. Sadly there were none on when we visited. The guests were all US imports but they did seem to be interesting ones. Beers are served in two sizes which I would say are in the region of 300ml and UK pint. Their own beers range from ¥500-¥700 for the small and ¥900-¥1300 for the large. I have to say that I really enjoyed some of their beers. All were pleasant but some were great. Impressive considering that they have started fairly recently. The imports were all ¥800 and ¥1500. The prices don’t seem to be the cheapest but you have to remember that the serving size is a little larger than some other places. And I certainly didn’t mind paying a little extra for the experience. They also sell growlers and do growler fills. Not sure how these are priced though. Along with the beer, they have a nice range of pub meals and snacks. You pay as you go with food and drink, ordering at the bar and with no running up a tab. Naturally, tax is included and there is no cover charge.
As you can probably guess, given the amount of photos in this post, the whole experience was probably as important as the beer for me. It was really nice to get out into the mountains, even if I restricted myself to looking at them through the window, and I am really happy that this place exists. I will definitely be back again, maybe in a few different seasons. I would imagine this would look pretty nice in Winter too! Not sure how their opening hours work in different seasons though, so I would suggest that you check their Facebook page in advance of making the trip. The post their monthly opening hours on there, so if you are planning on visiting during the week, I’d definitely check first. All in all, a great experience and one that I’m definitely going to repeat soon.
Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Variable. Each month they post the month's hours on their facebook page as a photo, so check it out there.
奥多摩町氷川 212, Nishitama, Tokyo