Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Kitchen 078


The final post of my small flurry, and the second stop in Chigasaki after Gold'n Bub. Kitchen 078 is just round the corner, very close to the station and is a pretty small place with good beer and food and a really nice feel. Here's what you need to know. 

-  Pretty small, even by Japanese standards. Counter for four and tables for maybe six. Unsurprisingly it has a cosy feel!
- Beers served in two sizes, Glass (280ml) and Pint (470ml). Beers are a mix of Japanese stuff and imports with the Japanese beers including a brewery I had never tried before (Uchu). The imports were both from the US. Prices were similar for both imports and domestic beers and ranged from ¥800-¥850 and ¥1200-¥1300. Considering some of these beers were pretty high alcohol, you were getting a decent bang for your buck! Beers were served in nice wine glass style glasses. Much better than those Shaker style glasses if you want to get your nose right in there.
- No smoking, no cover charge and instead of daytime opening they have super late opening. Not so great if you're visiting from Tokyo, but fantastic if you want to get proper messed up and live near by!

This was a really nice place. The staff were welcoming and I would definitely go back if I were in the area. The prices weren't the cheapest but are comparable to their neighbours at Gold'n Bub and are understandable given the size of the place. I think I've said it before but, a good atmosphere and really being interested in what you are serving more than makes up for paying a little more for the beers. After all, we are aiming to have a nice time when we drink, aren't we? The size perhaps suggest that if you want to be sure of getting in, it might be worth arriving early. I don't know how busy it gets, but I would imagine it's quite popular.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Be Easy
Uchu

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday, 18:00-03:00
Sunday, 16:00-01:00
Closed Monday

Location/Map:
幸町23-16, サザンコート7-9, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
0467-38-5691
 

Links:
Facebook

Monday, 29 October 2018

Gold'n BuB


Heading down to the opening night of Yggdrasil Brewing (blog post to follow soon, I'm giving them a little time to get going before I write anything), I popped into to a couple of places in Chigasaki that I've been meaning to visit for a long time (a phrase that is becoming something of a regular refrain on here, it seems). Gold'n Bub has been on my list for a while as I've heard great things about it. This is another Kanagawa brewpub so perhaps I should change the name of this blog, but is in relatively easy reach of Tokyo and has the added benefit of being by the seaside, if you're into that kind of thing. Here's what you need to know.

- Taproom and brewery of Barbaric Works beer, which you can find at quite a few places in Tokyo now. This is a nice looking place, with a U-shaped counter for maybe twelve and a few other high tables for maybe ten. Seems pretty trendy and young, but I would say that as someone who is conscious about being not young and is deeply unfashionable. I don't want to say the word 'hipster' as it has negative connotations, but that will give you a bit of a feel for what is going on here. There's a patio too, but I guess we're currently heading into the wrong season for that. Who knows when you're reading this though.
- 10 taps, one hand pump, around 2/3 of which is their own stuff, made on site. Beer is served in two sizes, the usual half and US pint. Their beers range from ¥600-¥700 and ¥1000-¥1100 respectively. Their beers were all Pale Ales, IPAs and Saisons, as is the fashion at the moment. Their guest beers rounded out the styles somewhat though, with an Imperial Stout from Outsider, Scotch Ale from Baird and an AJB Berliner Weisse. Guest beers were ¥750 and ¥1150 for the two sizes. They also have six of their beers available in bottles which cover even more styles, most of which are Belgian influenced and high alcohol! The cheapest is ¥630 and the most expensive, a ¥2400 750ml Barley Wine. DOWN IN ONE! Strangely, whilst it seems that the bottle prices don't include tax, the tap prices do.
- Unfortunately has none of my holy trinity. No daytime opening, but it is open very late every day if that's your thing. There is a ¥50 cover charge, which seems so small that it probably can't really be worth it. I got a very nice little pickled beetroot and cabbage dish for it, so no complaints from me about it, but I know people don't like charges. The big let down for me is the fact that smoking is allowed. It's such a shame that they put so much effort into their beer and food and then you probably won't be able to smell either.

Unsurprisingly, they seem to love beer here. Although maybe it's not completely unsurprising as plenty of recent bar openings seem to be more in love with money than beer. But this is a serious beer place and it's good to get to try many of their beers in one place. It's not the cheapest of places, but at the same time, it's not so expensive either. I'd have no qualms about trumpeting this place if it weren't for the smoking which is a huge downside for me. Perhaps this is looking at things from a European point of view, but I think there are plenty of people who won't go to places where people are smoking. However, if this isn't an issue for you, or it's patio weather, head on down. They are clearly a hugely important part of the beer scene in this area and seem to be really passionate about what they are doing.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Barbaric
AJB
Baird
Outsider

Opening Hours:
Monday-Saturday, 17:00-02:00
Closed Sunday

Location/Map:
幸町23-21ブリーゼ茅ヶ崎1F, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken


Telephone: 
0467-67-7916
 

Links:
Facebook

Website/blog

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Yokohama Kanazawa Brewery - La Fusion Na


Today, continues this little flurry of posts and continues the tale of my increasingly intoxicated journey from Beach Muffin to a football game. It's another brewpub, but is significantly different from my previous stop, Minami Yokohama Beer Labo. It's very close to Nokendai station, one stop from Kanazawa Bunko and Minami Yokohama, so it probably makes sense to combine the two if you're in the area. You can do your own compare and contrast too if you want! Here's what you need to know.

- Very different feel to Minami Yokohama Beer Labo, this being more of a restaurant/dining place than a bar, but the master was fine with me just popping in for beer. Slightly fancy Japanese counter restaurant feel to it, although I should admit that I have never actually been to a fancy Japanese counter restaurant so I'm flying by the seat of my pants with this comparison. Do they even exist? Perhaps I've made the whole concept up. Counter seating for 12 and another table for maybe four. Take your shoes off on the way in and put them in the lockers at the door. 
- Once again this is a brewpub, but instead of the brewing being done on a separate floor, it's done in a tiny space by the door. You wouldn't know though, as the two beers and one cider I tried were really good! They had six beers on when I was there but their Facebook page shows that sometimes this can be eight. Two sizes, half and US pint and all beers were priced at ¥480 and ¥780 respectively. Decent variety of styles, and avoids the homebrew feel that some other new or small breweries beers have. Very impressive! Lots of other booze available if you're not into beer.
- According to their Facebook page, they have some daytime opening. The hours seem a little unusual though, so it might be worth checking before you go. I should also say that I went there near opening time and was fine, but there were quite a few reservations, so if you're determined to visit, and are getting off the train especially, it's probably worth trying to book or going right at opening time. Better safe than sorry. There was no cover charge when I was there, but maybe this isn't the case if you're eating. Tabelog says there is a smoking area, but I wasn't aware of there being one. Sorry, this is all a bit vague! Perhaps I should have arrived a bit more sober.


This was really a pleasant surprise! It's great to visit a relatively new brewery (the restaurant has been there a while but they've only been brewing since 2016), and find that they are making some very nice beers! The prices are very good too. The master was very keen to chat about his beers and even went into the brewery to put his as yet unreleased cider on for me as he was interested in what I thought about it. I think he can speak some English, but can't say for sure whether I have made this aspect up as well. Seems this is all a bit of a blur. Sorry!

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Yokohama Kanazawa

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 17:00-22:30
Friday, 11:00-22:30
Saturday, 16:00-22:30
Closed Sunday

Location/Map:
釜利谷東3-1-4, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-788-4575
 

Links:
Facebook

Website
Twitter

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Minami Yokohama Beer Labo


This is the first of another flurry of posts. Seems I've been finally getting round to going to some new places recently! This first one is somewhere that has been on my list for quite a while and perhaps due to its location, have never managed get to. But lunch at Beach Muffin and a 7pm kick off in the football meant that there was never a more convenient time to tick it off. Here's what you need to know.

- Brewpub situated between Yokohama and Zushi on the Keikyu line, a short walk from Kanazawa Bunko station. Although it is still officially Yokohama, it feels quite suburban. Brewery is on the ground floor and the bar is upstairs. Decor is quite simple, with a small counter for five, tables for six and then a side room with tatami mats and some low level tables for an authentic Japanese leg-cramping experience. Very local feel to it, and the customers seemed to know the staff when I popped in. Didn't try it, but the food looked very reasonably priced. 
- There are five taps of their own beer available, and it is served in two sizes, glass (about 250ml, I reckon) and mug (probably about 400ml). Prices range from ¥480-¥630 for the former and ¥630-¥780 for the latter. When I visited there was a Golden Ale, Hoppy Saison, IPA, Porter and a Fresh Hop IPA. You can try all of them in a tasting set/beer flight, which is five 100ml glasses for ¥1200 served on a little tray. Tax is added to all of these prices.
- Daytime opening, but only at the weekend. No smoking. Sadly there is a cover charge, but it's only ¥200.

So that's about it. This is clearly the place to come if you want to try their beers, although I have seen them around in a couple of bars, (Awashima Soko was one of them, can't remember the other). The location is probably a bit off-putting for some but I suspect it must be a godsend if you live in the area and want to drink something other than the usual macro stuff.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:

Minami Yokohama Beer Labo

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-00:00
Saturday, 13:30-00:00
Sunday, 13:30-23:00

Location/Map:
釜利谷東3-1-4, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-781-5055
 

Links:
Facebook

Website/blog
Twitter

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Welder's Diner


Post by James
 
Welder's Diner is about six minutes from Shakujikoen. An area that doesn’t, to the best of my knowledge, have any other craft beer drinking options. To open a place in this area and to have daytime opening seems doubly brave and I hope they can make a go of it.

The menu at Welder’s Diner states that the exterior, interior and furniture were designed and built by the owner using steel from Minori Ironworks and there is definitely a nice feeling to the place. The name is a slight pun on welding steel and deepening the bonds between people and the community. I included this information because that is exactly what Welder’s Diner feels like. It isn’t a wild late night spot for youngsters but rather a pleasant cafe bar that you could take the whole family too.

The basic facts:

There are about 20 table seats and six counter seats. There is no charge and they have free WiFi. Opening hours are from 11:00 until 23:00 and their day off is Tuesday. There are 5 taps of Japanese beer and they come in two sizes; Regular (250ml) and Large (473ml). The price of a large can depend on the beer but is usually about ¥1200. Not a cheap place to drink, but it couldn’t really be in this area. There are also a few bottles and some are quite interesting. When they put a new beer on they announce it on their facebook page, so you can keep up to date with their taplist there. Lunch is served until 4p.m. and the sandwiches are good. They also do a kid’s plate.

Welder’s Diner has occasional events like flea markets and last week they even had a Rakugo performance. These events really do help to give a community feel. 

If you live in the area or you fancy a family day out at the nearby park, this place is well worth popping into.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Ise Kadoya
Inawashiro
Distant Shores
TY Harbor
Shiga Kogen
Kyoto

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Monday, 11:00-23:00
Closed Tuesday

Location/Map:
石神井町6-16-11-101, Nerima-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-6913-1470
 

Links:
Facebook

Website
Twitter

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Ise Kadoya Beer (Yaesu)


Today a place that I have been quite looking forward to visiting. In my opinion, Ise Kadoya have grown from being a solid if unspectacular brewery to one of Japan’s best in recent years. They are constantly releasing new beers and they rarely disappoint. So I was excited to hear that they were opening a taproom close to Tokyo station. Perhaps the choice of location will give you some ideas about the place, but maybe not all of your preconceptions will be right, as was the case with me. Here’s what you need to know:

- located in what looks like the basement dining floor of an office block. Nice looking place through, with wood panelling reminiscent of an old Belgian bar and in other areas the clean light wood we’ve come to expect from new beer bars. Counter for about five and seating for around another 25 at a variety of tables. Crowd was made up of predominately office workers, but the atmosphere seemed quite relaxed.
- 13 taps of their own beer, with surprisingly few of the regular ones you might expect them to pad the menu out with, and plenty of seasonals and one-offs on offer. Taplist was heavy on IPAs, but I guess that’s what people like to drink these days. Pricing was disappointingly expensive, with halves ranging from ¥650-¥700 and US pints from ¥1100-¥1200. I guess prices are creeping up as delivery charges increase and I understand that this is a prime city centre location, but they are serving their own beers and it would definitely be more appealing if the prices reflected this.
- Nice food with a big miso influence. Prices seemed pretty reasonable, even given the smaller tapas style portion sizes. The menu didn’t look very promising from a vegetarian point of view, but they were very accommodating about not adding meaty or fishy garnishes and they even made us a delicious miso udon from scratch, rather than just picking out the meat, which I reckon some places probably do!
- No cover charge, no smoking and some daytime opening, although not at the weekend, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. Also I have had friends visit at lunch who found they weren’t serving beer at that time which significantly reduces the point of going in my opinion!

I have mixed feelings about this place. I really enjoyed my visit and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to visitors from overseas. The food and beers were great, but the fact that a lot of their beers are available in many other places, usually at lower prices probably takes the shine off a bit. Not cover charge though means that you can easily pop in to tick off that seasonal you’ve been looking for. I’d arrive early though, as it got quite busy on the Thursday night we were there. The lack of beers at lunchtime was hopefully down to teething problems given they’ve only recently opened, or perhaps they hadn’t considered such a demand might exist. At this stage, I wouldn’t go out of your way hoping to drink there in the daytime though. I’ll update this post if I hear beer is available during the day. Perhaps they are not focussing only on attracting beer lovers, (they had a selection of sakes available too), but if you are interested in trying a few of their beers, this is a good opportunity to do it in one place, with the beers being in good condition, poured well in nice glassware.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Ise Kadoya

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-15:00, 17:30-23:30
Saturday, 17:00-23:00
Closed Sunday and holidays

Location/Map:
八重洲1-4-16, Chuo-ku, Tokyo


It's a bit difficult to see on the map, but a good exit to leave Nihonbashi station from is A6. Or it's pretty easy to walk from any of the Yaesu exits of Tokyo station

Telephone: 
03-3281-2300
 

Links:
Facebook

Website

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Loose ends/various places Part 2

This is part two of what will be constantly updated posts with brief descriptions of places that possibly deserve to be on here but which I have either no time or inclination to visit. Part one is here, part three here and part four here, or you can view all of them by clicking the digest tag, or just clicking here. I have tried various ways of keeping up to date with the crazy amount of places that are opening and have been struggling with deciding which places warrant including and which don't. This seems to be a reasonable way of dealing with them. They will remain on the map with a question mark as I can't vouch for any of these. The map will link to this post where places will be listed in alphabetical order with a short description and link which should give you some idea of what to expect and whether it's worth going to. There will be no tags, as that will just confuse matters I think. If I end up going to any of these places and they are worthy of a full write up, I'll remove them from here and make them a post of their own. Not everything on the backlog will be on here. This is mainly intended for what I imagine to be a bit less interesting but still worth mentioning places.


August Beer Lab Kitchen - Nihonbashi
I have to say, I quite liked the old August place in Roppongi. It certainly was much better than many other places in that area. From the name I’m guessing that this is food focused. Think they have quite a few other bars around town now. If you’re going to choose one, I’d probably still recommend Yanaka Beer Hall.
Facebook

Bakushuan - Nihonbashi
Fancy looking sake restaurant that serves some Japanese craft beer too. I would guess it’s not the kind of place you’d got to knock back the beers, but if you’re interested in sake and mixing your drinks, go for it.
Facebook

Bar i.o - Tachikawa
Six taps with some local stuff you don’t see around so much. Seems to be quite whisky focused too.
Facebook

Bay Brewing - Totsuka
The ‘new’ brewery that Bay Brewing expanded into a few years ago. Bit out of the normal Yokohama area which is one reason I’ve never got round to going there. The old brewery and pub is much more centrally located, but if you want to go to the (new) source, this is the place for you.
Facebook

Beer & 246 - Aoyama
Another August beer place. The fact that they have a ‘standard craft beer’ section to their website and looking at some of the photos suggest to me that they might be in the beer cocktail business! Not heard much about this.
Website

Beer Bar Crowd - Shinkoiwa
7 taps of Japanese craft, seems fairly small locals kind of place. When I finally manage to get out in this direction will tick off all these Koiwa places.
Facebook

Beer Chimney (Gotemba Kogen) - Marunouchi
Bit of a mystery as it has been around for years, long before the recent craft beer boom, but has very little internet presence and not many people seem to know about it. Serves as a taproom for Gotemba Kogen beer and is also an Izakaya. Walked past one and it looked quite ’traditional’ (ie. old) but is probably a bit of fun if you’re up for Gotemba Kogen beers.
Website

Beer Pub Scent - Meguro
Intriguingly named pub with a mix of Japanese craft, imported craft on five taps and some macro. Three handpumps if that’s your bag. Apparently it’s 'cosy'.

Facebook

Boulevard Cafe & 9 - Yokohama
Not exactly a beer bar, but something to do with the Yokohama Baystars baseball team. Bay Brewing make beers for. Seems that you can get three taps of those beers here including a seasonal. Open in the daytime too.
Website

Craft Beer & Wine The Dodo House
Seven taps of what is usually Japanese craft but with an occasional import. To be honest, I know nothing about this place, but a look at their facebook tap lists suggests they get some of the more unusual breweries in.
Facebook

Cranc Brewing - Itabashi
Pretty small looking brewery and taproom with six taps, two of their own and the rest being mostly Japanese craft. Going to go here soon I think.
Facebook

Distant Shores Taproom - Higashimurayama
Brewery tasting room for the Distant Shores brewery, located just about in Tokyo, but very close to Saitama and not particularly close to a station. Possibly only open on Sunday and as their beers are quite often seen around, you’ve really got to want to go here to make the trip.
Facebook

Fam333 - Shibuya
Eight taps of craft, mix of imports and domestic, seemingly not very exciting. Pub food. Interesting glasses!
Facebook

Fujimaru Craft - Mizonokuchi
Wasn’t at all aware of this place till very recently. Seems import heavy, in fact maybe exclusively import. Makes it on as the only craft beer bar in the area. Will try to visit and provide some more info.
Facebook

Haburashi Beer & Potato - Shibuya
I've heard this place attracts a lot of male customers as the staff are young and female. Winning combination of beer and chips/fries. Seems to offer mainly Scandinavian beers and apparently is priced as you’d expect. Not sure why it’s named as it is (toothbrush).
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Hinomoto Beer Parlor - Jinbocho
'Japanese craft beer and sake' is its slogan. 10 taps of beer from some interesting small breweries plus some nice big hitters. Seem to make their own beer too, but not sure if this is on site or not. I would guess not.
Facebook

In De Bourgondische Hemel - Shibuya
Nominally Belgian bar in Shibuya with a good reputation. Taplist is dominated by non-Belgian stuff (mainly imports with a couple of Japanese beers), for some reason. The Belgian selection they have on tap is a bit crappy to be honest. But I believe they have a big bottle selection. Has been around for a long long time, so I guess they’re doing something right.
Facebook

Karakuri - Kanda
Craft beer and oden. A new spin on the whole beer and food thing I guess. Mainly Japanese craft with a few imports in there I think. I know people who go here quite often, but it’s never quite grabbed me yet. Perhaps because it’s another food concept I can’t eat.
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Liquor Base Fussa - Fussa

Beer and other booze shop with what seems like a reasonable selection of Japanese craft and imports. Check their twitter (https://twitter.com/liquorbasefussa) for their new arrivals. If you’re in the area, seems like a decent option. There may be some on site drinking, but I haven’t even above to confirm it, so don’t go depending on that.

Website

The Lower Right - Ebina
Craft beer, steaks and tapas. In Ebina. Near Ebina Beer. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s like the other Lower Right, but with a bit less of a weird salaryman feel. Am basing this on instinct alone though.
Website

Magnetico - Kamakura
A place that I’ve been meaning to go to for ages. Have heard good things about it. Best check the opening hours on their facebook before you go, as I believe it’s a low key operation.
Five taps of Japanese craft including some interesting local stuff.
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On Tap/Edo Tokyo Beer - Kiyosumishirakawa
Located out east, this is a bar with its own brewery, although I’m not sure if it’s on site. It does say that their beers are made in Koto-ku. Pretty sure you won’t get these anywhere else. Nine taps of craft and one macro. Bit of a mystery.
Facebook

Prost - Hachioji
10 taps of Japanese craft. Think this place has been around for quite a while so I’d imagine they know what they’re doing.
Facebook

Ramen & Bar Abri - Ebisu
Presumably connected to the Abri in Kanazawa posted about here, this is a ramen restaurant with craft beer in snazzy Ebisu. Seems like one of the only (maybe the only) place in Tokyo where you can get Kanazawa Brewery beer so I guess I’d probably better go to try that. At the same time, it’s a restaurant, so that might not really work out well for me.
Facebook

Rise & Win Brewing Co. Kamikatz Taproom - Azabujuban
Normally this place would have been done and on here already, given that it’s a brewery whose beers you don’t see around that often with a centrally located taproom. But, I’ve heard it’s crazy expensive and has a cover charge too. Seems like a nice looking place with (perhaps) four taps of Rise & Win and four (usually imported I think) guest beers.

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Sakeria Sakebozu - Yoyogi Hachiman
Trendy looking sake bar that apparently has some good Japanese and imported bottles and cans of craft beer too. Have been recommend this place by a few people but shamefully have still not gone, even though it’s close to my house.
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Shishi Bone - Koiwa
Another place to tick off when in Koiwa. I really should do that soon. Cafe with coffee, sandwiches (including veggie options apparently!) and of course beer. Six taps, but seem to normally have four Japanese craft beers on. Check the facebook for the selection. Some weird opening hours, so better check that too.
Facebook

Tachinomi Beer Boy - Nakameguro 
Part of the Craft Beer Market family, one of its Beer Boy bars (more like craft beer izakayas I’ve heard). Standing bar with 10 taps (one macro) made up of a mix of Japanese and imported craft. Good pricing as you’d expect from a CBM.
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Taki - Shibuya

The ‘Japanese beer and sake’ branch of the Cerveza Gym chain. Much like Wailele and Wasserfall (see below), they seem to post their beer list on facebook. Might just be my preference, but this seems like the best of the lot, selection wise. Not sure why I’ve never been here to be honest.
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TDM 1874 - Aoyama
TDM’s Tokyo city centre branch with four taps of their beer (plus one macro) and also bottles and cans from TDM and other breweries. As I’m yet to visit, I don’t know if you can drink these on site or they are for take away only. There is some confusion online about this.
Facebook

Wagaya - Tachikawa
10 Ants Brewing’s tap room and restaurant but seems to have other beers on too. Think it is quite Japanese food focused.
Facebook

Wailele - Shibuya
The ‘Hawaiian and American beer’ branch of the Cerveza Gym chain. Much like Taki and Wasserfall (see above and below), they seem to post their beer list on facebook. 

Facebook

Wasserfall
 - Shibuya
The ‘German and Austrian beer’ branch of the Cerveza Gym chain. Much like Taki and Wailele (see above), they seem to post their beer list on facebook.
Facebook