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:
Hitachino Nest
Y Market
Mountain River
Ushi Tora
Hop Kotan
Iwate Kura

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

北沢2-33-6, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo


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