Thursday, 27 September 2018

Noge West End


Today, the last of a little run of Yokohama places. Noge West End is just round the corner from El Nubichinom in an ‘interesting’ part of town. It’s a little tricky to find without a photo as their awning has a different name on it, but there is a small sign outside, and I guess, check the photo above. Here’s what you need to know:

- Feels very different from the previous three places, looking like an old counter restaurant now converted into a food, beer and cider place. Counter for eight and one table for two, but feels more spacious. I’m sure you could fit a few more tables in if they wanted to. Lots of wood, but not the slick clean modern feel some places go for. Here the wood looks like it’s been stained by years of smoking and cooking rather than stained by a beer bar carpenter during construction.
- Beer is here, but perhaps the more interesting part is the cider. But we’ll start with the beer. Six taps of Japanese craft served in three sizes, original (450ml) for ¥1200, medium (330ml) for ¥900 and small (200ml) for ¥700. Not the cheapest, but it’s nice to have three sizes to choose from. Aside from this they have six Japanese ciders by the glass for ¥900. These were served in a big balloon glass from bottles and must have been at least 250ml. I’m sorry, I’m hopeless at estimating the size of those huge glasses.
- No smoking, some very limited daytime opening at the weekend but a ¥300 cover charge, so don’t just pop in for one.

In spite of the cover charge, this might have been my favourite spot of my mini crawl. Mainly for the cider, as once again the beer selection wasn’t wildly exciting. But the cider does give it something more unique. I’m very much not a cider expert, but it’s rare to see anything other than Kirin Hard Cidre or the Baeren or Outsider ciders available in beer bars. The atmosphere was nice too and this is probably the place I’d be most likely to pay a return visit to. I didn’t try the food, and to be honest, I think I didn’t even look at the menu. Like I said, this was the last stop of the day and I was a little ‘tired’.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Johana
Yokohama
Minoh
Outsider
Atsugi

Opening Hours:
Monday-Wednesday, 18:00-23:30
Friday, 18:00-00:00
Saturday, 16:00-00:00
Sunday, 16:00-23:30
Closed Thursday

Location/Map:
宮川町2-16, 藤井ビル1-A, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-231-0133 
 

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

29BY / 254BeeR


Another Yokohama place and another brewpub. There definitely seem to be a few more of them popping up recently. I heard that the brewer is a past employee of Yokohama Brewery, so take from that what you want. Being a Yakitori place with craft beer, it’s not exactly right up my street, but I’m sure the two are a good combination. Here’s what you need to know:

- Ground floor brewery and 2nd floor bar. Brewery looks new and shiny, but not sure how long it has been going. Bar area has a counter for six, and one for four near the window along with tables for eight. Feels. Little like it is going for a businessman kind of clientele, but honestly have no idea why I thought that, apart from gut feeling.
- Eight taps of beer, three of their own offerings and five imports, (mainly US stuff with one Australian thrown in). Served in two sizes, regular (350ml) and small (260ml). Their own beers are priced at ¥800 and ¥650 and the imports are ¥1000 and ¥750. Styles were very much towards the easy drinking end of the spectrum (pils, pale ale, wheat, IPA), perhaps chosen with a mind to going well with the food.
- No cover charge, no smoking (there’s a separate room at the back for smoking which doesn’t seem to interfere with the bar, but given that it’s a Yakitori place, it has a bit of smoke from the cooking) and a smidge of daytime opening.

Clearly I’m not their target customer as I can’t eat any of the food, but I think this would be a good combination. The serving sizes are a little smaller than usual but I think this is reflected in the pricing. And as far as I know, this is the only place you can drink their beer, so worth a visit if you want to tick that off.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
254BeeR

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 16:00-23:00
Saturday, 15:00-23:00
Sunday, 15:00-22:00
Closed Monday

Location/Map:
吉田町5-12-107, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-517-2310 
 

Links:
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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Bruntons


Another new-ish Yokohama place today, but I should stress that recently my concept of new and new-ish has become a little stretched. Bruntons has a fancy logo, appeared on a vegetarian food website and had some interesting looking beers checked in on Untappd so this looked like it would be an interesting visit. Here’s what you need to know.

- Classy looking 2nd floor bar, a little walk away from all those Kannai bars on the other side of the baseball stadium. Counter for about five, seats for around 14 and a little raised Japanese style seating area. Definitely aiming for the higher end of the market.
- Consequently, the prices match. Regular pricing ranges from ¥1200 to an eye-watering ¥1400 for a US pint of regular Japanese craft beers (check below for the breweries). Halves, (280ml), were served in nice glassware and ranged from ¥700-¥800, with a half of a Japanese BBA stout costing ¥1200. Bottles available too, but I forgot to take a photo of the menu, so that information is long gone from my memory now! Think there were some Canadian imports though... Thankfully, they have a happy hour from 15:00-18:00 on weekdays when pints are ¥1000 and halves ¥600. A beer flight is also available, 3 x 148ml for ¥1200.
- Seems to serve a lot of vegetarian food, which makes a nice change! I didn’t inspect the menu too closely, but the names seemed veggie friendly and the place was listed on a vegan food website. Surprisingly, the food seemed to be much more reasonably priced than the beer, which is the opposite to the usual beer/food equation we find in craft beer bars. Interesting!
- No smoking, no cover charge, tax included in the prices (thankfully!), daytime opening and WiFi.

So, very much mixed feelings. The huge drawback is the prices. It really is significantly more expensive than other places, but you have to consider that it seems to be an independent place, rather than involved in a big money chain. Also, it is in an area where there isn’t much competition for craft beer, so this usually causes prices to rise a little. It was a nice place to have a beer, but it was very disappointing that we missed the happy hour by ten minutes. I blame the trains for that. Would love to try the food some time, but I fear the beer prices, for what sadly turned out to be not the most exciting of Japanese breweries will probably mean that it’s a while before I go back.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Yokohama
Iwatekura
Numazu Craft
Minami Shinshu
Be Easy
Loco

Opening Hours:
Monday, 16:30-00:00
Tuesday-Friday, 15:00-00:00
Saturday & Sunday, 13:00-00:00

Location/Map:
元町5-190, KIKIビル2F, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-323-9773 
 

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Antenna America Yokohama Station


The first of a quick flurry of Yokohama places today. It would be nice to say that this is a sign that I’ll be updating the blog a lot more in the future, but I suspect that posts will still come in little bursts like this. It has now go to the stage that places on my ‘to visit’ list are opening up and closing down before I get the chance to visit them. We can hope though that the good places stick around. If you offer something original, I hope you’ll always have customers that want to visit and support your business. Anyway, a lengthy preamble to basically saying that this is a new-ish Antenna America location, not so far from the original branch, but possibly in a more convenient location for those wishing to buy bottles to take away. If you are familiar with both of the other locations, you can note that this is much more like the Shinagawa branch than the Kannai one, but the selection is more like the Kannai branch than the Shinagawa one. So far, so muddled. Here’s what you need to know.

- Like Shinagawa, this is a bar and bottle shop located in the food court of a department store. Once again there is an Isetan connection, the bar being in a part of the Joinus complex called Food & Time Isetan. As you’d expect, there is a shopping centre food court vibe to the place. However, this time, there are a few tables and seats inside the shop if you want to try to forget where you are. If you want to embrace the location, you can sit outside on one of the food court tables and get something to eat from one of the other outlets whilst you enjoy your booze.
- 10 taps of US import craft beer and loads of bottles and cans (15 or so big fridges). If you are looking for details on breweries available it might be worth checking the website of the main branch, but I should stress that this shows the taplist for the original branch and not the station one. The station branch has a facebook page so maybe you can get an idea from there. Pricing varies due to strength, rarity etc. but you can get an idea from that original branch taplist. 
- No smoking unsurprisingly, long daytime opening hours (great!), wifi and no cover charge. Which I think should now be called my holy quaternity (yes, I just had to look that word up…).

So that’s about it. Mix the two other branches and you have this one. It’s a little tricky to find, but basically if you go the B1 floor and head south-west (take your compass), you should find it eventually. Like I said, look out for Food & Time Isetan and you should be ok. I think this is a place I will use more for buying take away beer than drinking in, but if you’ve got some time to kill between trains and a raging need for alcohol, this is the place for you.
 

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
None

Opening Hours:
Daily, 11:00-23:00

Location/Map:
南幸 1-5-1 新相鉄ビル JOINUS B1, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken

As it's underground and in a shipping centre a directions map is kind of pointless. Better to check the location of the pin at the link above and approach that way.

Telephone: 
045-548-8733 
 

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Friday, 7 September 2018

Paradise Beer Factory


A quick post on another brewery. It’s not in the most convenient location if you’re traveling by train from Tokyo, unless you’re keen on going via Narita Airport or Mito and really like spending time on your journey. There is a bus from Tokyo station which is much more convenient, but still runs close to a journey of a couple of hours. However, if you’re in Kashima to visit the power-spot shrine or see a Kashima Antlers game (as an away fan), this is a place well worth popping in to. Here’s what you need to know.


- Fairly new brewery which prides itself on their natural ingredients and farming credentials. I saw a slogan which said ‘Farmer owned, farmer brewed’ so that should give you an idea. It’s a relatively compact place considering there is a ground floor bar, shop and brewery and upstairs the main cafe/restaurant space. I stayed downstairs and sat at the counter (seats for five). Apparently the upstairs space has a lot more capacity with seating for over 30. It was nice to see a record player being used, but I guess that might just be something I get excited about.
- They currently have a beer line up of eight beers, five of which were represented on tap. You might be lucky and be able to buy the others in the shop in bottles to take away. All beers were served in the same size and priced the same (US pint, ¥950 and half, which was in a tulip glass and probably at least 300ml, ¥700). The beers are made using water from the nearby Kashima Jingu, apparently an unusually hard water for Japan. The beers fall loosely in the field of Belgian styles, but more on the Wit/lower alcohol side of the Belgian beer spectrum. There were nods to other more popular styles with an IPA and session IPA, but both still retained some Belgian hints.
- No smoking, no cover charge and daytime opening. Although beware about that final point as they seem to close the bar and cafe between 16:00 and 18:00. Saying that though, someone did turn up minutes before 16:00 and order a beer, so I’m not sure how strictly enforced this policy is. Wouldn’t bank on it though, as I wouldn’t want to be disappointed or annoy the staff.

This place was a really pleasant surprise. It’s sometimes a bit of a risk to drink the beers of a brewery operating in a town with no other craft beer competition, but their beers were pretty nice! It’s a nice place to refresh yourself after a visit to the nearby Kashima Jingu, although I have to admit we ran out of time for the shrine and instead went straight to the match. They were very welcoming, even when I emerged from the bathroom wearing the opposition fans football shirt. At least I think their light booing was done in a friendly way. I wouldn’t hesitate to come back here again next time I’m here for football. Although actually, next time I need to be at the ground by 10:00, so it’s probably not going to happen that day. I’ve seen their beers for sale in Le Petit L’Ouest in Shimokitazawa, so you can get an idea of what they’re doing from there, but I think it’s always best to try these things on tap at the source if you can. Sure, it’s not exactly somewhere you’ll be passing by that often unless you live in Kashima, but keep it in mind for that odd occasion when you are and give it a try.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Paradise Beer Factory

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Saturday, 11:30-21:00 (but maybe closes between 16:00 and 18:00, be careful)
Sunday & holidays, 11:30-16:00
Closed Monday & Tuesday

Location/Map:
宮中1-5-1, Kashima-shi, Ibaraki-ken



Telephone: 
0299-77-8745
 

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