Sunday, 9 December 2018

Yggdrasil Brewing

Today, it's another new brewery and another new town for the map. In the interests of full disclosure, Yggdrasil is a new brewery taproom that has been opened by friends of mine, so I'm going to try to be even more neutral than usual. Their facebook describes the concept as 'Heavy Metal infused craft beer, cider and mead' so this should give you some idea of what to expect. Of course I really like the place, but I don't want people to think that I'm biased, so I'll just set the information out and leave you to come to your own conclusions about it. They are yet to begin brewing on site, so when they do that I'll update whatever I need to update on here, but I think there probably won't be that many changes, apart from the make up of the taplist. Anyway, here's what you need to know:

- As you would expect from a new place, shiny new decor with plenty of wood. Seating for around six at the counter and tables for ten. The brewery is visible through the doors to the back area. They have a food menu with some snacks that you don't see so often in Japanese beer pubs (galettes!).
- Eight taps which at the moment is made up of one of their own beers (brewed at Ebina. Past beers have been brewed at Itabashi Brewing Unit and they have one made at Barbaric coming soon). Two sizes available in their own nice looking and interestingly shaped glassware, small (270ml) and regular (380ml). Their own beer is priced at ¥600 for the small and ¥800 for the regular. The guest beers are ¥100 extra for each size. All the guests are at the moment Japanese. They also have a selection of imported bottles and cans, which seem to be mainly US imports at the moment. They also have cider and mead.
- No smoking, no cover charge and some daytime opening at the weekend.  

As I said, I could get all effusive but I'm trying to be impartial. I've really enjoyed all of their beers so far and am looking forward to seeing what happens when they get to use their own equipment. Craft beer and food with a French touch and a big serving of Heavy Metal gives this place an undeniably unique twist so of course I'd recommend you go down there, perhaps including it in a Kanagawa breweries and bars pub crawl. Why not, eh?

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Yggdrasil
Repubrew
Atsugi
Devil Craft
Bay Brewing
Zakko
TK Brewing
Shonan

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday, 15:00-23:00
Sunday and holidays 15:00-22:00

Location/Map:
Chateau Aube 1F 44-7夕陽ケ丘, Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
None
 

Links:
Facebook
Twitter

Website

Friday, 7 December 2018

Irish Bar McCanns


Today a briefer than usual brief post. McCanns is somewhere I’d heard of as being an Irish pub with some craft beer. When we visited after the final Frontale game of the season for our Frontale Gaijin Fan Bonenkai it was a really pleasant surprise. The decor and atmosphere is pretty authentically Irish pub like. You order at the bar and pay as you go. This is not a predominantly craft beer place with plenty of the usual pub beverages available, but crucially it had four taps of craft beer hidden away out the back alongside the usual Irish pub draught beers. These craft taps included three by one of my recent favourites TK Brewing and one by Knee Deep. This convinced me that this place deserved an entry of its own, albeit a brief one. Prices ranged from ¥1000-¥1200 for a US pint, so pretty much as you’d expect. One drawback is that smoking is allowed but I guess this is to be expected in a pub that is not exclusively a craft beer place. There’s plenty of seating at the counter and on the second floor. There is also room to stand so there’s no need to worry about reserving (probably). As I said above, this was a really pleasant surprise and I’m sure I’ll be going back.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
TK Brewing

Opening Hours:

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

Location/Map:

新丸子東 2-926-27, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa

(I've put map directions from the Toyoko line/Nambu line station as this is the one I always use, but it's pretty close to the Tokkaido line station too).



Telephone:  
044-567-8256
 

Links:
Website

Facebook

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Tap & Growler


Today another growler filling place but one which encourages on site drinking a bit more than Night Owl. Tap and Growler also has a distinctly bigger selection and has the advantage of being located in Shimokitazawa. Unfortunately, this desirable location is reflected in their pricing, but to be honest, is in keeping with most of their Shimokita neighbours. Here’s what you need to know:

- Fairly small place that is foremost a growler filling location and bottle shop, but which also offers on site boozing in small sizes. Counter for five and seating for six more at high tables. There’s also a little patio area out front if that’s your thing.
- 18 taps available to fill your growler and take away, or to drink on site. On site drinking seemed to be in half pint size only. Again, I’ve left it so long that I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was US half pint. Prices ranged from ¥600-¥950 for this. Growler fills are available in 32oz or 64oz, which I would consider a slightly outmoded measure of weight, but if I’m being less intentionally naive, will admit is two US pints or four US pints. Prices ranged from ¥1620-¥2920 for the 32oz and ¥2670-¥4800 for the 64oz. All the beers were from Japanese craft breweries but some were extremely run of the mill and these were obviously the ones at the lower end of the price range. I don’t think I’ve seen Echigo and Brewmaster on tap for a long time and it wasn’t exactly a welcome reunion. On the other hand they did have some interesting stuff from small new breweries as well as a couple of big hitters. Their taplist is available on their website if you want to have a look. They also have a point card with you getting a stamp for drinking a beer on site, two for a 32oz growler fill and three for a 62oz growler fill. Double points on rainy days too. If you get to 24 points you get a free beer, 48 points two free beers and 72 points a t-shirt. You don’t see these kind of point cards around so often, and I’m all in favour of them, as I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.
- Bottles were also available and once again I’m really wishing I’d paid more attention and made some notes. In the bottle fridge they had imports as well as Japanese craft. I remember some interesting looking US stuff and again some interesting smaller Japanese breweries. Prices, well I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to let you down again. I’ll update if I’m back there as time has completely erased any memories of them.
- The staff were very friendly and seemed interested in what they were selling. They were playing some nice music when I was there and I had an enjoyable but brief visit. They have free WiFi and thankfully there’s no cover charge. The place is no smoking but I seem to remember there’s smoking on the patio if that’s your thing. There’s a little daytime opening, but only at the weekend. Oh, and it's cash on delivery, so you pay as you go.

I’m a big conflicted about this place. The prices are a big turn off, but when you consider the prices in Ushi Tora and Kazenori Merry, they are totally in line with their neighbours. But there’s a reason I never go to those two places. (Actually there’s s couple of reasons I don’t go to Ushi Tora but I won’t go into that here!). There is some good stuff on their menu and in their fridge, but the tap menu has some beers from breweries I wouldn’t ever suggest anyone ever needs to try. If you can steer your way around these and don’t mind paying a bit more for the location of the bar, then this is the place for you. I’m not sure how popular growler filling is in Japan. It’s not something I do myself, but it’s a good option to have if that’s your bag.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Fukushima
Hitachino Nest
Y Market
Kyoto
Uchu
Mountain River
Barbaric
Brewmaster
Ushi Tora
Echigo
Vertere
Hop Kotan
Tokorozawa
Baeren
Iwate Kura
Minoh
Hideji

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 18:00-00:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 15:00-00:00
Closed Monday

Location/Map:
北沢2-33-6, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo


Telephone: 
03-6416-8767
 
Links:
Facebook
Website

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Murmur "Biiru" Stand

Today, a place that stretches the Tokyo Beer Drinker map in a slightly new direction. Murmur is one of a couple of new breweries that has started fairly recently in Nikko. This seems to make a lot of sense, given that Nikko is jammed full of tourists and if there’s one thing we all know for sure about tourists, it’s that they are crazy for craft beer. As many readers of this might be tourists themselves, Murmur provides a decent opportunity to tick off some cultural tourism and some beer tourism in one go. Here’s what you need to know:

- Pretty small place located about a 15 minute walk from the rail stations on Nikko’s main road. Ground floor has the brewery at the back behind a big window, a small counter for serving, and four or five standing tables. Upstairs, there’s a slightly smaller room with seating at tables for eight. Apparently the decor of the upstairs room is inspired by the film Amelie. Not sure if there is a connection that I’m missing.
- Six taps, but only five were on when we visited, four of which were their own beers and one was a guest from their neighbours in Utsunomiya, Blue Magic. All beers were served in two sizes, small and large for ¥500 and ¥1000 respectively. Sadly, as I have left it so long between visiting and posting this, I can only judge the sizes by looking at photos. Complete stab in the dark, but around 250ml for the small and judging by the prices, 500ml for the large. But yeah, I’m just making this up really.
- Alongside the usual pluses of WiFi, daytime opening (lots of it), no cover charge and no smoking we have the added benefits of them having phone charging facilities and a mini (extremely mini) patio out front. They have a couple of bar snacks available but also allow you to bring your own food in. Nice!

It goes without saying that Nikko has been calling out for somewhere like this for a while and Murmur was a fun place to visit. The master was very friendly and there was a constant stream of visitors popping in for a beer or two. Perhaps this isn’t somewhere you’d be staying a long time as there’s plenty of tourism to be done, but would be a really nice pit-stop during a busy day of sightseeing, or as was the case for us, somewhere to round off the day before heading to the station. Most of the information is available in English here and there is a nice sign saying something along the lines of please speak slowly as his English isn’t good. From listening in to him explain the beers to other customers though, I think he’s being modest.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Murmur
Blue Magic

Opening Hours:
Friday-Monday, 12:00-22:00
Tuesday, 10:00-15:00
Closed Wednesday & Thursday

Location/Map:  
上鉢石町1013番地, Nikko, Tochigi-ken

 
Telephone: 
None
 

Links:
Facebook