Thursday, 16 May 2019

Fiesta Garcia

A quick diversion to Shizuoka today. To be more specific, Shizuoka city. I've been here before and was surprised to see that I hadn't written up the place I went to last time which was Aoi Beer Stand. To be honest though, it wasn't my favourite place, but I'll add it to the digest soon. On this trip we also went to Craft Beer Station and Biru No Yokota. Both of them are now on digest post number 4 as I didn't think they justified a full write up. As part of the ongoing struggle to make this blog a bit more manageable, I keep changing my standards for inclusion. I'm quite happy with where we are now, with unvisited or unexciting places getting a mention on the digest post and places that are good or noteworthy getting a full write up. This does mean though that there are probably plenty of posts on here on places which don't really deserve to have a full post anymore. But going back and deleting them and moving them to a digest post seems to be a complete waste of time so I won't do that. I think I might write a pinned post explaining the new inclusion criteria. Anyway, this is all a diversion but should give you a hint as to how much I liked this place. In a city with quite a few bars, many of which either showcase one brewery's beers or have lots of imports, Fiesta Garcia stands out for its quality. I really liked this place. Here's what you need to know:

- Slightly tricky to find. Get to the google maps location and you'll see what looks like a little corridor/alley through the building with lots of restaurants and bars in it. Look out for that big blue Bayern Meister flag shown in the picture. It was maybe about halfway along the corridor, but probably not exactly where it shows on google maps. The main bar area is pretty small with perhaps five counter seats and a little table for two. However there is another seating area with some more tables (maybe for about 10) and another small bar next door which you get to by walking past the side of the counter. At first we didn't notice it was the same place and thought we had been unlucky given that the main area was full. It also looked like there was an upstairs area, but it wasn't in use when we were there. This place is a Peruvian restaurant and bar, and feels pretty relaxed and comfortable.
- Eight taps of beer, some of which veered towards the bigger side of imported craft beer (actually, I think some of them actually are 'crafty' not craft). The big selling point for me was the three taps of Bayern Meister. This is a beer that you don't often see outside of Shizuoka and was why we went here. Beer is served in two sizes, pint and regular. The pint is US, I believe, and the regular was probably about 300-350ml. Brooklyn Lager and a Far Yeast beer were the lowest priced at ¥850 and ¥600 for the two sizes. The high end were a US imported IPA and the high alcohol Bayern Meister beers and these cost ¥1200 and ¥800. They also had some cans and bottles in the fridge but I didn't get a close look for either price or selection. Sorry!
- No smoking, some super late opening and no cover charge. I don't normally mention the food in this section but as I've declined to do it above, I will now. We had some really nice cheese based dishes. I believe they might make their own cheese actually. Didn't check out the rest of the menu, but if you're in the market for cheese or other (non-specified by me) Peruvian dishes along with some lovely Bayern Meister beer, this is the place for you!

Yeah, I realise I could have done a better job on this post, but this was our first stop on a pretty busy schedule and I was reveling in the excitement of a 4-0 away victory so I didn't exactly pay much attention. If it's feelings you're interested in, I really enjoyed this place. The solitary bartender was very friendly and did a great job of pouring beers from two bars and cooking food. This was a really nice surprise and was definitely the highlight of our Shizuoka drinking. It's nice to find somewhere with a bit of a different concept and there was a multi-national thrill in drinking German style Japanese beer made by a German in a Peruvian bar/restaurant in Shizuoka. Will definitely go back next time we're in town. Cheers!

Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Bayern Meister

Far Yeast

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday, 18:00-01:00
Friday & Saturday, 18:00-03:00
Sunday, 15:00-22:00
Closed Monday


七間町11-5, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka


Sunday, 5 May 2019

Garapago Racing Kaisei Handmade Beer

The fantastically named Garapago Racing Kaisei Handmade Beer is a brewery west out of Tokyo on the Odakyu line, almost in Odawara. Although my picture doesn’t show it, it’s in a really nice location with mountains on two sides in the not too far distance. Given that it’s in an area where it seems like the town is meeting the countryside it’s no surprise that it's pretty big. It's the kind of place that would cost an absolute fortune to build in Tokyo and would probably have to be supported by a huge corporation. Here’s what you need to know:

- Very nice looking place in a nice setting. Ground floor has the brewery, kitchen, counter for eight and tables for the same. Upstairs is the big sell. It’s a bright airy room with tables for around 20 and glass doors looking out on to a patio/veranda with nice views of the surrounding mountains and it was very nice to sit out there. The whole place feels modern but comfortable at the same time and is done to a high standard. Lovely!
- Eight taps of beer, six of which were their own creations. Beers are served in two sizes, glass (370ml) and pint (472ml). Prices range from ¥500-¥800 for the glass and ¥650-¥1000 for the pint. They also serve beer flights but the details are being worked on at the moment so I’m not sure about the pricing. We had a flight of all the taps which was quite fun, but I think they are happy to serve smaller flights too. Please enquire.
- Daytime opening, no smoking (I think), and wifi. There was a small cover charge but it’s a bit of mystery. If anyone knows more than I do, please let me know and I’ll update this, but it seemed to be the case that you could chose what you wanted from four options, with each option being ¥100 each. I think… I haven’t really checked enough details for this, have I? Sorry…

I always like to visit a new brewery much more than a new pub to be honest. The huge selling point of this place is the scenery and the patio. It was really nice to sit outside admiring the view. I wish I’d worn sun cream though as the brightness and the heat caused me to have to retreat back inside after a few minutes. You can still enjoy the view from inside though. The staff were very friendly and this was a really fun place to visit. I usually say, ‘pop in if you’re in the area’, but I’m not sure how many people are in the area around here. However, you can easily combine it with a visit to Yggdrasil, as we did, and some places in Chigasaki. Lovely!

Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Garapago Racing
Kakegawa Farm

Opening Hours:
(They don't have their hours on Facebook so I can't be sure, but these ones are from tabelog)
Monday, Wednesday-Friday, 15:00-22:00
Saturday, 11:30-22:00
Sunday, 11:30-21:00
Closed Tuesday


みなみ 1-3-4 , Kaisei,


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Nishiike Mart / Snark Liquidworks

Post by James

Nishiike Mart / Snark Liquidworks is a newly opened bar and brewery in the West Ikebukuro Kanamecho area. This area has suddenly become one of the best in Tokyo for a crawl.

My photo really doesn’t do it justice at all and the interior is a lot better than the outside.

The building is very old and used to be a market (hence the name). I loved the interior. You can still see the old timber beams in the ceiling and there is lots of wood everywhere. There are even some antiques and the whole place has a quirky but nice atmosphere. For me at least, it manages to come across as a bit trendy but totally unpretentious.

I guess this place could seat at least 40 so it is big considering the area it’s in. There are five counter seats facing the bar and three facing the kitchen wall. Several quite large tables and some sofas.

The brewing room is visible from the counter and it looked surprisingly big. There were only four taps on when I was in, one of which was their own. I guess they will have more taps and more of their own beers once they are fully up and running. Prices were ¥1100 for a pint and ¥800 for a regular. That’s pretty good these days. 

The kitchen was also not fully operational but it was relatively big and they said they’re working on the menu.

Opening seems to be from 15:00 and there’s no charge and free WiFi.

The owner and the chef are older than a lot of people running craft beer bars but that made it pretty comfortable for an old timer like myself.

Like I said, it isn’t really in full swing yet but I liked this place and I’ll definitely go back soon.

Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Snark Liquidworks
TK Brewing
Devil Craft

Opening Hours: 
Best check their facebook at the moment, nothing seems fixed yet


西池袋 4-19-14, Toshima-ku, Tokyo


Nishiike Mart Facebook
Snark Liquidworks Facebook