Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Loose ends/various places Part 5

This is part five 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 two here, three is here, four is 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.

Beer Stand Stoop - Unoki

Looks like a mini bar with five taps of reasonably interesting beer from over Japan. The name would suggest it’s a standing bar, but I’ve been to enough Japanese beer places to know that you can’t always presume that the name reflects the place. Nothing much else in this area so must be a welcome addition!


Cafe Club Key (Caghiya brewery) - Kawasaki

Brew pub of the Caghiya brewery. Have only seen these beers at a Kawasaki beer fest so if you want to try them this is the place to go. Have no idea what kind of place this is apart from looking at a few photos on Facebook which make it look like a British pub. But smaller. Of course.

Craft Beer Server Land - Akasaka

The new sister bar of the original Craft Beer Server Land in Iidabashi. Seems to be the same kind of set up with lots of taps from lots of Japanese breweries at a decent price (although I think they might have gone up a little since I last visited the original branch which was admittedly a long time ago. Cover charge of ¥380 as you’d expect in these many-tap/low-price bars.

Craftrock Brewing - Nihonbashi
Craft Beer Market’s expansion into brewing and having a music venue. Although given that it’s in a shopping centre, I’m guessing the venue is quite small and not going to be very loud. Around 20 taps with lots of their own beers on. Prices are ¥600 for a half and ¥900 for a pint. Guests are a little more expensive. Beer menu posted daily on their website. ¥300 cover charge. Interesting…. Will definitely go here soon.


Devil Craft - Jiyugaoka
New branch of the Devil Craft chain, this time in fancy Jiyugaoka. 16 taps, half of which are their own beers and the rest a mix of imports and Japanese craft. Haven’t been here, but I guess the rest of the vibe is pretty much like the other Devil Craft branches.

Matsudo Beer And Taproom - Matsudo
The new location and name for Eitai Brewing who have moved quite a long way from their previous city centre location. Generally seem to have five taps of their own beer on. No sign of prices on the facebook but check the old post here and it might give you an idea of what to expect. Or not.

Nihonbashi Brewery T.S.
 - Yaesu
Still not sure if the brewery is actually brewing but they’ve opened a new super central taproom and seem to be serving beer in a sake style with the cedar box and pouring till it overflows. The check ins on untapped are mainly guests. Check the original listing here for some ideas of what to expect I guess.
 This is just a bar as far as I know. The 'brewery' is in the original location.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Tamsang Tokyo x Craft Beer Bar Taptime

Tamsang Tokyo x Craft Beer Bar Taptime is the slightly unwieldy name of the new branch of Taptime which was formerly in Umegaoka and has now moved along the Odakyu line to Yoyogi Hachiman. It’s not only the name that has changed though. There is a very different feel to the new bar and a bigger beer list. Previously it was a cosy little bar with low lighting and seemed to be a locals place. Now it’s bigger, brighter and seems to be attracting a quite different clientele, partly I guess, due to the location, and partly due to the theme. Here’s what you need to know.

- Bright and open space, with counter seats for seven and a maybe seating for about the same at some kind of wall bench seats (haven’t described that very well, have I?). Looks like there is a patio too. The theme of the place is apparently ‘Craft Beer, Thai Coffee and Art’. This is reflected in some goods that seem to be for sale at the front of the bar which seem to fall loosely into the latter two categories. We visited quite late on a Friday night and the atmosphere was quite different from the previous location. The counter was full, people were in high spirits and music was playing. Seemed to be a bit of a party feeling.
- Seems to have 16 taps, although some of the spots on the tap list were filled with Thai cocktails. 13 of the 16 spaces were beers though with a decent mix of Japanese breweries, (some of which I prefer significantly to others, but I’ll leave you to work out which ones are which), and some of which are very fashionable right now. It’s a bit pricy, I guess in line with the location. The beer was served in two sizes and the glassware was an unusual shape, but I think the sizes were probably in the usual US pint, UK half range. The smaller size ranged from ¥800-¥1000 and the larger from ¥1100-¥1380. They do a beer flight for (I think) ¥1450 but not sure about number or glasses, serving size or if you can choose. There are also bottles available but I didn’t see a list or prices. Bit useless, aren't I?
- There was no cover charge and the place is no smoking. Although the hours are a little vague at the moment, they are sometimes open during the day. Check the photo of the monthly hours on twitter. I couldn’t find wifi though.

So, all a bit vague from me. Sorry about that. This is probably the first place in Yoyogi Hachiman solely devoted to craft beer and I think that is reflected a bit in the prices, which are a slightly off-putting. As I said above, the tap list is quite interesting, with a few interesting breweries. I’m not sure the upbeat atmosphere is completely for me, as I tend to be a bit of a party-pooper, but I’d imagine it’s not quite so full on earlier in the evening and on a weeknight. At the moment, the facebook page seems to be a bit of a mix of both the previous location and the new one, right down to the address which seems to be a mix. It’s still early days though, so perhaps by the time you read this they will have updated it. (There's a new facebook page. I'm a dummy, sorry). It’s a welcome addition to the area though and I guess I’ll pop in from time to time.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:

Ise Kadoya

Daisen G

Opening Hours:

Best check their twitter where they post a photo of the month's opening hours as the hours seem to change week by week.
富ヶ谷 1-7-9, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

050-3574-3466 (maybe. This hasn't changed from the previous branch, so might not be right)


Saturday, 27 July 2019

Grow Brew House

Post by Mothy
Grow Brew House is a small brewpub located a short walk from Nishi Kawaguchi station. The interior is small and unimpressive, offering standing room at the counter in the main room, and some old and uncomfortable looking folding tables and chairs in a room in the back. The main room with the counter seems to be where everyone gathers. It fits about eight people at the bar with maybe enough room for the same amount of people to stand without tables. It's a true small-scale operation.

They opened in, I believe, January of this year, and began serving their own beer at the end of May. I've been there a few times now and though none of their beers are going to be winning any awards anytime soon, I haven't had anything from them I'd call truly undrinkable yet, which hasn't been the case with a lot of breweries when they're this new to the business. I've noticed a couple of their beers have already improved so it will be interesting to see if they can make further improvements. The brewer seems pretty knowledgeable about beer, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

The beers come in three sizes, with the largest being a US pint- I think. I didn't ask and just eyeball tested it. (Sizes now confirmed as 473ml, 284ml and 160ml). The prices for their own beer are ¥1000/650/350. (Prices have now increased to ¥1050/¥700/¥400. See the comments for details). They have six taps with most featuring their own beer. Guest beers run a bit more expensive, ranging as high as ¥1300/900/500. Which for domestic craft is pretty expensive in my opinion. Guest taps first time I was there were Ushitora and Chichibu. Second time they had Be Easy and Shiga Kogen. It's pay as you go, which I like as I can more easily ignore the cost of my beer drinking when I'm not hit with the tabulated bill all at once. (UPDATE: They also do take away beers)

Some other details about the place: It's non-smoking, but there isn't a designated smoking area, and since it's Nishi Kawaguchi people just smoked on the street right outside, and at least this time of year with windows and doors being kept open, the smoke would get inside when that happened. But the clientele didn't seem to be heavy smokers so it didn't happen often, so I'm only mentioning it to warn those extra sensitive about smoke. They only serve snacks, but they allow you to bring in outside foods. The staff is friendly, and although they don't speak English, they have no problem with me using my mangled Japanese on them. No wi-fi at this time.
Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Grow Brew House
Be Easy
Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday & Sunday, 15:00-23:00

Closed Monday


西川口1-25-8 近藤ビル1F, Kawaguchi, Saitama-ken