Thursday, 18 August 2016

Beer Cafe Hopman


A couple of stops down the train line from Fujisawa is a place that I have been looking forward to trying for a long while. Hopman is the sister bar of Ushitora (but don’t let that put you off...) as the people who opened it used to work at the Shimokitazawa home of bad service and overpricing. Significantly though, everything that I don’t like about Ushitora is different at Hopman. The service and pricing were good and it was a place I’d love to try again soon. I will need to go back another time though and update this as when we visited they were celebrating their sixth birthday so I want to check how the place runs normally. Thought it best to put it on here now and update later as it deserves all the custom it can get.

- Fairly sizeable place. Plenty of seats and I guess normally a lot of counter seating (but this had been removed for the birthday do. At least this is what I imagine). Would say somewhere in the region of 40 seats at tables. Feels quite classy, padded seats, soft lighting, nice decor etc.
- 36 taps on for their birthday do! Good mix of Japanese craft and imports (US, Denmark) divided by style on the menu. Big mix of styles, generally speaking served in two sizes, glass (300ml) and pint (473ml). Big beers are served in 150ml and 300ml servings. Prices range from ¥700-¥900 for the smaller size and ¥1000-¥1350 for the larger.

This post is deliberately brief as I really need to revisit the place to get an idea of the normal operation. Will update when I do that, but it’s definitely a pretty exciting place and well worth the trip to Chigasaki.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Shiga Kogen
Daisen G
Outsider
Devil Craft
Shonan
Yo Ho
Sankt Gallen
Noboribetsu
Ise Kadoya
Y Market
Fujizakura Kogen
Baird

Opening Hours:
Daily, 15:00-01:00

Location/Map:
十間坂1-1-23, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
0467-85-5688
 

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Grano


Today, another Fujisawa place. Grano is a pizzeria with a decent selection of craft beer just a few minutes from the station. I’d heard good things about their pizzas and was interested to check them out and of course, also the beers.

- Very much feels like a pizza restaurant (because that’s what it is, I guess). Seating at tables for 30 and a counter for six. Pizzas were very nice.
- 8 taps of craft beer. All imports when we visited but they did have a lot of Mikkeller on from the previous week’s tap takeover.
- Once again, beers served in four sizes (I guess they like extra large and extra small beers in Fujisawa!), tasting size (probably 150ml), glass (300ml), pint (500ml) and mass (1000ml). Prices are as follows, T - ¥300-¥400,  G - ¥850-¥1100, P - ¥1100-¥1350 and M - ¥2000-¥2300. So, a little bit on the expensive side, particularly the glass size. Definitely stick to the pints I guess, which are actually bigger than most places ‘pints’ (500ml rather than the standard US pint 473ml). If you haven’t noticed previously, 'pint' doesn’t really mean pint in Japan. More like 'standard large size'.
- Beers were a mix of Danish, US, Norwegian and Canadian imports. Some interesting stuff there.

A nice place. The pizzas were delicious and the beers were good. As I said above, some of the sizes are definitely better value than others, so we had a couple of pints and then had tasters for the others that we fancied trying. Would definitely go back here again too. A great combo with Mokichi.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
None

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 16:00-02:00
Saturday & Sunday, 12:00-02:00

Location/Map:
鵠沼花沢町2-4, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
0466-65-0122 
 

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Mokichi Craft Beer


I recently made the trip out of Tokyo to Shonan (football again) and once again took the chance to visit a few beer places that I have been meaning to put on here for ages. Firstly, it’s Mokichi Craft Beer, the beer restaurant of the Shonan brewery in Fujisawa. I went here once before, quite a while ago, and was surprised to hear when I visited that the place had only been open around four years. Guess we went there quite soon after it opened. Anyway, I’m going to split up these Shonan area posts as I am going to add a lot of different tags on here soon and because of this, it makes more sense for places to have individual entries. Enough about blog admin issues and on with the stuff you might be interested in.

- Very nice looking place not far from the station. The usual combination of wood, stone and metal but this time done in a more original way giving it a nice atmosphere. Lots of seating split over two floors at various tables and a counter for six.
- 10 taps of Shonan beers, with over half of them seasonals. Beers served in four sizes from here forwards known by their initials, taster (150ml), small (270ml), large (420ml) and pitcher (1800ml). Regular beers are priced as follows: T - ¥345, S - ¥560, L - ¥795 and P - ¥3045. The seasonal are priced a little higher (and are mostly higher alcohol), T - ¥360-¥430, S - ¥600-¥720, L - ¥845-¥1030 and P - ¥3520-¥4340. Beer is served in their brewery branded glassware which is nice and a good shape for enjoying the beer to the full. Limited selection of bottles to take away too. Prices include tax and there is no cover charge (hooray!). There is a large food menu too, but I didn’t try anything. Next time.
- Open during the day but seems to close for an hour before they start the dinner session so be careful not to pin your hopes on drinking there between 15:00 and 16:00.

A very nice place that I have enjoyed a lot both times I’ve been there. This time was particularly nice as the Wezienbock was absolutely delicious! A highly recommend stop if you are in the area. Perfect combination of good beers, good prices and friendly staff.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Shonan

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-16:00 & 17:00-23:00
Saturdays & Holidays, 11:30-23:00
Sundays, 11:30-22:00

Location/Map:
南藤沢20-19, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
0466-90-3590 
 

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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Beer Brain


A few months ago a slightly bizarre video started appearing on Facebook posts showing a group of Exile like guys in dungarees drinking beer, playing some kind of percussion piece on handtools whilst constructing a shed on wheels somewhere in Yamanashi. It seems that they have finished it, driven it to Tokyo and parked it up a short walk from Gaienmae station [Actually, it's now moved closer to Omotesando station. Map and address are updated below] . It’s a pretty unique experience, but it is essentially still summed up as a high end shed on wheels with four taps of craft beer.

- As I have said a few times already, a shed on wheels, but surprisingly fancy looking inside. Not much space, as you would expect, but maybe up to 10 could stand here if they were all quite friendly with each other.
- Mainly imports, and mainly US ones, but with some Japanese craft too (beer list on their Facebook and Twitter daily it seems). All beers served in two sizes and at the same prices, pint for ¥900 and half for ¥600. We are definitely talking US pint sizes rather than UK sizes. Unfortunately all beers are served in plastic cups which contrasts a little with the fancy interior but I guess it’s the only way things can work in such a small place. Maybe it’s ok to bring your own glass? No charge naturally and tax included.
- Some daytime opening but like many other places it closes midway through the afternoon. I arrived on time for the opening after the afternoon break but it didn’t open immediately, so if you have a strong objection to waiting around, I’d give them a bit of leeway and not turn up right on opening time. Now open all through the day. At least at the moment anyway. Also, apparently they intend to take the bar around to festivals and events so I think if you’re planning to visit it’s a good idea to check their Facebook page and check whether they’ll be there or not.

So, it’s quite a fun place to pop in for a couple but maybe not somewhere you could spend too long in given the size. The prices are great, but the plastic cup is a bit of a let down for me, but I totally understand why they do it. It’s in a bit of a strange location, but I’m sure it would be a fun addition to a pub crawl.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Shiga Kogen
Swan Lake
Shonan

Opening Hours:
Daily, 11:00-22:00

Location/Map:
COMMUNE 2nd, 南青山 3-13, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
080-3092-4862 
 

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