Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sidewalk Stand Inokashira


Another quick post today, this time on Sidewalk Stand Inokashira. The original Sidewalk Stand in Nakameguro is already on my map but I didn’t think it justified a full entry as they beers weren’t so exciting so it’s on the digest post here. This branch makes it to full post status though, as the beer selection seems to always be excellent. I guess they like beer a bit more in this branch.

- Coffee shop, bakery and, of course, beer too. Definitely the emphasis is on the first two though. Counter area downstairs where you buy your stuff (couple of small tables there too), and then an upstairs area with views of the end of Inokashira park with seating for around 12.
- Three taps of beer from excellently selected breweries. All beers served in three sizes, half, 3/4 pint and pint at ¥600, ¥900 and ¥1000 respectively. I’m guessing these are US pint sizes, but I only had a half as they only had one tap on when I was there, so I can't be sure. Sorry! I went early on the Monday afternoon of a holiday weekend, so I guess that they might have sold a fair bit of beer during the previous two days.
- No smoking, no cover charge, tax included and pay as you go. They also have WiFi. Also open in the daytime every day.

All in all, a nice place to pop in for a quick beer. I don’t think they really expect you to settle down for a long session. They don’t seem to have any internet presence for this branch, which is a bit strange, so you take your chance a little when visiting with regards to number of taps on, but I think their opening hours are pretty consistent so they'll at least always be open. It’s nice to see that a place where beer is not the main concern is making the effort to put some decent stuff on. The excellent selection really makes the difference here.


Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Kyoto

Shiga Kogen
Yorocco

Opening Hours:

Daily, 09:00-21:00

Location/map:

井の頭 3-31-15, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo



Telephone: 
0422-29-9961

Links:
Facebook page (unofficial)
...and that's it!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Garageville

This is the first of two posts on places that I feel deserve to be on here because of a somewhat interesting selling point. I’ll keep the posts fairly brief, as both places are not uniquely beer places, but are well worth popping in to. So, today, it’s Garageville. I’d never got off the train in Tsutsujigaoka before but I have passed through it on trips down the Keio line for football or visiting places for this blog. Seems that there are a lot of beer reasons to head west down this line now. Anyway, here’s what you need to know.

- Primarily a second-hand record shop with a wide variety of decently priced records. I went intending to pay a quick visit for a browse and a beer, but ended up buying four records. Three small sofas arranged in front of the record racks and, as you’d expect from a record shop, a nice stereo system playing interesting music.
- Beer is exclusively in bottles, from a variety of countries. There were quite a few British bottles, some US stuff, Germans, a few Belgians and a selection from both Hideji and Songbird (which is the big selling point for me as you don’t often see their beers in bars. At least I don’t anyway). All the Songbird and Hideji were priced at ¥1000 a bottle. They also serve other drinks, I saw wine and coffee. I should have paid more attention but I was focused on beer and records. Sorry.
- No smoking, no cover charge and tax was included in both the beer and record prices. They have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and I’d recommend checking on one of them for their opening hours as they seem to vary. But when they are open, there is an element of daytime opening if that’s your thing.

Think this is the third record shop with beer on here after Big Love and Small World, but the first second-hand record shop. I really enjoyed visiting this place and will definitely be back. Not sure if there’s anything else in the area, but it’s very close to the station, so pretty accessible even if you’re just passing through. 


Japanese breweries on tap when I visited: 
None, bottles only, but in bottle, Hideji and Songbird

Opening Hours:

Variable, but it seems they always post their hours on twitter, so check there before you go
 

Location/map:
西つつじヶ丘3-30-30, Chofu-shi, Tokyo



Telephone: 
0424 985367

Links:
Facebook page 
Twitter

Monday, 29 January 2018

TKBrewing


Kawasaki is a city I am quite familiar with as I work there three days a week and have a spent a great deal of time at the football stadium. There are a few breweries ranging from the fairly well know (Brimmer) via the very local and quite quirky (Moonlight) to the downright confusing (TT). (Check out the almost certainly incomplete Tokyo Beer Drinker Kawasaki rundown here). But there's a new brewery in town called TKBrewing. Confusingly, it's relatively close to the similarly named TT, but there are quite a few differences, with the most significant one being the beer. TK has only been open a few months and already people are talking about it. Sometimes, that's not a good thing, but with TK the talk is positive. I was pleased to get down there and see for myself. Here's what you need to know.

- Not the most convenient location, about a ten minute walk south of Kawasaki JR station. The brewery is in a communal cafe/art space kind of thing. Look for the beer balloon outside. The brewery is in the room next door, but the counter and small seating area, (one high table and a couple of low benches) is reached by heading for the cafe and looking left. It's a nice looking space and looks fancy and new with interesting posibilities. For now, we're concerned with just the front corner near the serving window.
- Five of their own beers were on tap (but there were a few more tap handles available, so maybe they'll expand the selection at some stage). They were a nice mix of styles, a common, two saisons, an IPA and a stout. Prices ranged from ¥550-¥650 for 275ml pours. Unfortunately, they are served in plastic cups, which is a bit of a shame. I would have loved to try them in a glass as the plastic cup always takes something away from both the taste and the experience for me. The beers were all very nice though, which makes me want to drink them in a glass even more. They seem to be quite a way ahead of quite a few Japanese breweries already which is very exciting.
- No smoking, no cover charge and you pay as you go. The brewery has very limited opening hours, just four hours on Friday evening and seven hours on Saturday afternoon, but it's well worth popping down and trying the beers. If I wasn't on a blog related bar crawl I would have liked to have stayed to drink all of their beers. Apparently their beers are on tap in some Kawasaki bars, so I guess I'll just have to work out where these are and then I can get my TK fill and have it from a glass!

So, a very encouraging start for a new brewery. Once again, the location isn't the most convenient, but until I work out where these other places are, this is the place to go to get TK beers. Although the 'tap room' is quite low key, I'd say it's definitely worth paying them a visit. Will be back soon when the football season gets started. Go Frontale! (Oh sorry, that's the post sign off phrase on my other blog...)

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
TKBrewing


Opening Hours:

Friday, 17:00-21:00
Saturday, 13:00-20:00
Closed all other days (usually)

Location/map:
 
日進町 3-4, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
none

Links:
Website
Facebook page

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Eitai Brewing


Today, another new brewery. I've been meaning to get here for a while as I was wondering what was going on with the Mile Post. It seemed like it might be a bit of overkill to have two craft beer places in the same building but according to most things I could find on the internet, the Mile Post was still there. This is not quite the case though. The whole building is now Eitai Brewing, the first floor being the taproom and brewery and the second floor being what was the Mile Post but now under the Eitai name. (The cycle shop has moved a couple of km away, if you were wondering). I'm guessing that this is more of a rebranding to match the brewery rather than a new place, as there is some overlap in their internet presences. Unfortunately, this time I only went to the ground floor taproom, so I going to have to presume that the second floor cafe is still in the Mile Post vein. I suggest you check the old Mile Post entry which I'll leave up and add a note redirecting to here. One apparent difference is the food, which was curry based and now seems to be more familiar Japanese pub food items. Which is a shame as the curry was great on previous visits, but the new food also looks good judging by the signage and looking at their website. Anyway, a lengthy preamble to my usual 'here's what you need to know'.

-  First floor taproom is pretty small, with a couple of counters seating about seven and a couple of small low tables. It's very much somewhere you'd pop in for a couple rather than stay for hours. That's what the upstairs part is for I guess. They do serve a few bar snacks though, so you can get some sustenance with your booze.
- They had four beers available, three of their own and one guest (Iwami, the first I'd heard of them to be honest). Beers are served in half pints (probably around 250ml as a guess), and are available for ¥500 for their stuff and ¥700 for the guest. Their beers were a wheat, stout and IPA. You pay as you go here, no running up a tab.
- No smoking, no cover charge, wifi available and open during the daytime, but be sure to check the hours below and maybe on their Facebook too, as the taproom and cafe are open at different times and depending on what you are heading there for, you might end up disappointed. It does seem to be the case that one or the other is usually open though.
- Not going to write much about the cafe as I didn't go in, but as I mentioned above, check the old Mile Post entry for a rough idea. Apologies if it's now nothing like it used to be. They do occasionally post tap line ups on their cafe twitter, so at least the beer line up seems to be similar and I'm sure they still have that nice river terrace.

So, all change, but also more of the same. It's nice that there's another new brewery in town and I'm guessing that if you want to drink Eitai beer this is going to be the best (and maybe only) place to get it. The cafe section was nice on the couple of times I visited and I imagine that it's still nice after the rebrand. The line ups I've seen suggest that they're getting some good guest beers on too. Also nice is the fact that, in the taproom, at the weekend there's an easy place to pop in and have one or two of their beers. As I probably said before, it's not an area I'm in very often, but must be great for the locals in an area where there's not a great deal of craft beer.


Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Eitai
(at least downstairs in the taproom. Sorry I didn't go upstairs, this time but it's a mix of their beers and Japanese guests as it was with the Mile Post. Check the old post here for an idea)

Opening Hours:

- Cafe, 2F
Monday-Saturday, 11:30-23:00 (but closed at 21:00 from November to February)
Closed Sunday & holidays
- Taproom, 1F
Friday, 17:00-22:00
Saturday, 14:00-20:00
Sunday, 12:00-18:00
Closed Monday-Thursday
 
Location/map:
新川 1-20-6, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

 


Telephone: 
03-5542-0256

Links:
Website
Facebook page
Cafe Twitter
Taproom/Brewery Twitter

Sunday, 21 January 2018

& Beer (アンドビール)


Another day, another new brewery! Although once again, I visited before the place actually started brewing. 'And Beer', or '& Beer', or 'アンドビール', take your pick, is situated in a nice new building almost smack between Asagaya and Koenji stations. Brewing is due to start sometime around March. Here's what you need to know.

- Nice looking place. Pretty small with a L-shaped counter for six, a couple of tables for four and a small counter/standing area round the back. From the main bar area you can see through to the brewery which is due to be in operation soon. Will pop back when it is and update this post.
- Six taps which are at the moment all Japanese guest beers. I guess when they start brewing they will be a mix between their own beers and guest beers. Beers are served in two sizes and all priced the same, 250ml (¥500) and 490ml (¥900). Tax is added on at the end though, so bear that in mind. There's no cover charge which is very welcome! Beer flights are apparently available, but they weren't anywhere on the menu, so maybe you have to ask specially. Guess it will be more of a thing when they are brewing and selling their own beers.
- Food available and their speciality is apparently curry and they have a selection of them available with special toppings to add if you want. Also, there are other typical style Japanese pub dishes. I only had the edamame but they were very nice.
- WiFi is available, the place is no smoking and they have daytime opening (during the week for lunch only, but for the whole day on the weekend). Usually closed on Monday and Tuesday, but the best thing to do before you visit is check their facebook page as each month they seem to post a photograph of their monthly opening hours which seem to vary a little. Scroll back through their timeline photos till you find a pic of a calendar.

Once again, I guess I have jumped the gun a little by visiting before the beer is being brewed, but this is a nice place even if you ignore the fact that there's a brewery there. I'm looking forward to trying their beers! It seems to be quite popular, so I'd advise going early if you're planning to visit. More info to follow when I've made it back after the brewing starts.

Japanese breweries seen on tap when I visited:
Shonan
Be Easy
Coedo
Ushitora

Opening Hours:
Wednesday & Thursday, 11:30-14:00, 17:00-22:00
Friday, 11:30-14:00, 17:00-22:30
Saturday & Sunday, 11:30-22:00
Closed Monday & Tuesday

Location/map:
4-2-24-105 高円寺北, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 



Telephone: 
080-5913-8241
 

Links:
Facebook

Twitter

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Craftbeer Pub Twelve


Firstly, apologies for the terrible photo. There are some pretty bad ones on this blog, but I'm reaching new depths with this one, snapped with about a millisecond's thought as I entered the pub. Twelve is somewhere I've been meaning to get to for a long time as it's part of the KO (Keio) Craft Guild, a loose association of bars along the Keio line. Also, a lot of my friends who are fellow Gremlin regulars go here, so I take that as an indirect recommendation. Before visiting, the one main thing I knew about Twelve was that it is run by a big FC Tokyo fan (who presumably now can't actually attend games due to his bar tending commitments). With this in mind, I removed my rival team football scarf before entering. Here's what you need to know.

- Small place, even by Tokyo standards. Seating for six at an L-shaped counter and a couple of other tables with a few seats and a bit of standing room. The interior is totally dominated by FC Tokyo memorabilia. It's clear that he is a big fan!
- Five taps of beer with Japanese craft just about getting the upper hand and a couple of US imports (when I visited). Pricing depends on the beer, with the Japanese stuff coming out cheaper naturally. Served in two sizes (apart from the higher alcohol/unusual style beers), 260ml and 400ml at ¥700 and ¥1100 respectively for the Japanese stuff and ¥100 more for both sizes for the US import. The irregular size beers were served in 300ml measures for ¥800 (Japanese) and ¥900 (US). There is also a big fridge of imported bottles, mainly from the US, but I think I remember there being some other stuff in there too.
- Daytime opening at the weekend, no cover charge and I think it was no smoking. Interesting looking food available too. I saw pizza and ramen. Not sure what else there is.

This is another one of the great one man bars that seem to account for some of the best places in Tokyo. It's not the most accessible or the cheapest place around, but there is definitely a character to it that is absent from plenty of other Tokyo bars. The beer selection was good (aside from one brewery I'm not a huge fan of...) and this makes up for the fact that it's a little pricier than some other places. I'll definitely be back there some time, but probably not right after our away game at FC Tokyo. Definitely a recommended place if you're anywhere near the area!

Japanese breweries seen on tap when I visited:
Y Market
Outsider
Ise Kadoya
Ushitora

Opening Hours:
Monday, Wednesday-Friday, 17:00-24:00
Saturday & Sunday, 12:00-24:00
Closed Tuesday

Location/map:
4-51-5 国領町, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 



Telephone:
042-488-4774

Links:
Facebook

Twitter

Monday, 15 January 2018

Kagoya Tasuku


I was completely unaware of this place until I was tipped off about it by one of my fellow Gremlin regulars (thanks Tatchy). Kagoya seems to be a long standing sake shop that has recently expanded into a bar/restaurant and brewery. It's a nice looking place, but quite far from public transport, so I'm guessing their main clientele are locals. On the Saturday we visited, it was fully booked from 18:00, so it seems they're doing something right. Here's what you need to know.

- Brewery is visible from the road but the restaurant/bar is set back behind it. Nice looking place with fancy, (in a good way), decoration and design. Medium sized room with spaced out seating for 12 at tables and eight at the counter. There also seems to be a roof terrace which would be quite appealing in warmer weather. Not so appealing in January though!
- 10 taps and one hand pump, four of which were their own beers, which I guess would be most people's reason for visiting. The others included a few other Japanese breweries and a couple of not so unusual imports. Beers served in two sizes, regular (270ml) and special (400ml). Prices ranged from ¥500-¥760 and ¥760-¥1050 for the two sizes with their beers being very much at the lower end of this. Their own beers on offer when we visited were Amber, Dark Brown Ale, Smoked Weizen and Belgian White.
- Seems to be more of a restaurant than a bar, with lots of Izakaya style dishes available, but they were fine with us just drinking. There was no cover charge during the day (think this is also true in the evening, let me know if you go and there is one), and having a few drinks there was a nice relaxing experience. They are open all day, Tuesday to Sunday which is great if you're in the area and thirsty, but as I said above, they seem quite popular, so it might be worth making a reservation if you're planning to visit at a time that you think might be busy.

So, another new brewery. The boom is still booming it seems. It really is quite a way from the nearest train, (20 minutes approximately from the nearest Odakyu line station), but if you want to try their beers, this is clearly the place to go!

Japanese breweries seen on tap when I visited:
Kagoya
Minoh
Baeren

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30-22:00
Closed Monday

Location/map:
3-34-4 駒井町, Komae-shi, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-5761-8101

Links:
Facebook

Brewery facebook
Website