Saturday, 28 January 2017

Ushi Tora (new location)


Ushi Tora has moved. The old standing bar is still there (check here for a post on that place), but their main bar has now crossed the tracks to the area north of where the Odakyu and Inokashira lines meet. I have a bit of a troubled relationship with Ushi Tora. I've had some bad experiences in the standing bar and can't imagine I will ever feel the need to go back there. But I have to admit the service in this place was fine. Nice, friendly staff and none of the bad stuff that I had at the standing location. I do still have a major reservation about recommending their bars as I'm sure will become apparent further along in this post, but they are popular places and plenty of people seem to not have the same issues that I do, so here it is. 

The new bar has a nice feel about it. Comfy seats, well lit but not too bright. They've gone for the bare concrete here (as opposed to the other Tokyo craft beer bar staple decoration, lots of wood). There's a long counter for probably around 15 people and tables for maybe 30 more. Sorry, I didn't count the seats properly as I imagined I could get the information from tabelog, but it looks like they might not have updated that listing from the previous place yet. They serve a nice range of pub food if you're hungry. The place is no smoking and they have wifi.

There are 22 taps available, two of which were handpumps. The beer line up is dominated by their own stuff. Eight of the taps were their beer and these were generally served in two sizes 260ml and 470ml priced at ¥600-650 and ¥950-1100 respectively. Their stronger beer was priced in these same brackets, but available in 150ml and 300ml servings. There were a similar number of Japanese guests available in similar sizes but priced from ¥730-880 for the small and ¥1150-1400 for the large. Much much more expensive than most other bars. The taplist was rounded off with imports and these were even more expensive (¥830-930 and ¥1400-1500). I don't really understand why people are happy to pay these prices, but each to their own I guess. Their beer list is posted daily on their blog, so you can easily check what they have on before you go. 

So, pretty obvious what my gripe is. I just don't like feeling like I'm getting ripped off. But to be fair, their prices and serving sizes are clearly listed and there are no any extra hidden charges unlike in some bars. To look at the positives, the whole experience was much better than previous experiences I have had in the other bar and the old place. The service was good and if you can look beyond the prices, the selection of beers is decent enough (although not sure there's anything that you can't get anywhere else). Later in the evening though, there were a few things running out and nothing new coming on, but I guess this would be different at the weekend. I think they used to stay open really late in the old place, but this one has much more normal opening times. Although, they do have the magical afternoon/daytime opening! Not somewhere I think I'll be going particularly often, but it will definitely work for some.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Ushi Tora
Devil Craft
Yo Ho
Iwatekura
Coedo
Kyoto
Minoh
Minamishinshu

Opening Hours:
Daily, 15:00-23:30


Location/Map:

代田 6-3-27, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:  
03-3485-9090 
 

Links:
Website

Facebook
Ratebeer listing

Friday, 27 January 2017

Small World Records & Cafe


Today a brief post on another record shop with nice beer. Small World is located halfway between Pigalle and Awashima Soko. It's a small place and very much a labour of love. What you can see in the picture above is pretty much all of it. They sell records of an experimental nature and serve teas, coffees and bottled beers from Japanese craft breweries. There is a plan to get a tap in and have a draught beer in the future [now available, see below], but for the time being, it's bottles from the likes of Shiga Kogen, Ise Kadoya, Baird and Hansharo, mostly for ¥800. It's a one man shop with a musician owner who would love to practice his English and play you some records. He's a good friend of mine, but that's not the only reason it's on here. It's just a nice place to pop in for a beer or two and a browse through the racks.

Update: As mentioned above, they now have beer on tap. There are two taps and beers are served in two sizes, 270ml and 500ml, generally speaking priced at ¥800 and ¥1100 respectively. They also do takeout beers, generally speaking ¥700 for a 300ml plastic cup. Bargain!

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Hansharo
Shiga Kogen
Nihonkai Club
Ise Kadoya

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 18:00-24:00
Saturday, 14:00-24:00
Sunday, 14:00-23:00
Closed Monday
 
Location/Map:

太子堂 5-30-6, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-5787-8806 
 

Links:
Website

Facebook

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Primordial Cafe & Craft Beer


Post by Mothy

Primordial is a small shop in Saitama near Minami Urawa station. I say "shop" because they advertise themselves as "cafe and craft beer" so maybe they don't want to be called a bar or pub, but at the same time I wouldn't call them a cafe. They stay open kind of late, until 11, and have a bar you drink beer at. Doesn't sound like a cafe to me.

I guess they call themselves a cafe for a couple of reasons. First, they also serve good coffee. But the food options don't seem cafe like. Second, they're open from lunch. [NOT ANY MORE UNFORTUNATELY. NEW OPENING HOURS BELOW] This is what caught my attention, as daytime open craft beer place isn't seen much, or maybe at all, in Saitama. When I went there during the day, around 3:30, I was the only customer. But when I went at night they were full. So it'll be interesting to see if the early opening time continues. Maybe they get a good lunch time rush. I hope so because it's a nice place in a good location.

Now for the details. It really is a small place. About eight at the bar and about eight seated at tables. The beer selection was interesting, but limited, with only five taps. The prices aren't bad. ¥800 for a regular and ¥500 for a small, with select beers being plus ¥100. How much beer was in a regular, I'm not sure. I'd say less than a pint, but not shockingly less. There's no table charge and no smoking.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Romantic Village
Kyoto
Tainai Kogen
Tazawako
Oni Densetsu

Opening Hours:
 
Tuesday-Sunday, 15:00-23:00

Location/Map:

南浦和3-3-15, Minami-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama-ken

Telephone:  
048-762-6766 
 
Links:

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Kanazawa round up part 3: Craft Beer Dive Futa’s

Just as I posted the two Kanazawa places that Rich kindly visited and wrote about for me, I have received a email from my friend Nevitt, a beer blogger in Kansai with some information about the elusive Craft Beer Dive Futa's. So, here we go, a complete Kanazawa set for you. Click these links for part 1 and part 2. No photos this time, but it's good to have info about all the places available. If any visits, I would be very grateful if you could send me a photo. Please check out Nevitt's blog Beering In Mind for news and interesting articles about Craft beer (mainly in Japan). It's a great read!

Post by Nevitt

Small place, located near the Kanazawa City Hall, in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Run by the former manager of Korinbo Jibiruba. Clean, minimalist design. Ten seats at the bar and six at one large round table. The place was half full, with several groups of middle-aged locals who all seemed to know each other. They were a bit loud but quite friendly. Eight taps ... but only five were on: two from Shiga Kogen, one from Minoh, and two US beers. Variable pricing: glasses for ¥750-850 and pints for ¥1100-1200. Large bar food menu (they were touting their vanilla ice cream IPA beer float, which I did not venture to try). Servers were friendly and informed. I liked this place and will definitely return next time I’m in Kanazawa.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Shiga Kogen
Minoh

Opening Hours:
Monday, 15:00-23:00
Tuesday, closed
Wednesday-Friday, 15:00-23:00
Saturday and Sunday, 12:00-23:00

Location/map:
里見町 44-1, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken


 
Telephone:
076-222-0593 

Links:
Facebook
Ratebeer listing

Kanazawa round up part 2: Korinbo Jibiruba

And now, the second of two posts on Kanazawa by a new blog helper. Please click here for part 1. [And thanks to Nevitt, we now have a part 3 too. Check it out here]

Post by Rich 


After our wonderful meal of ramen and beer, we stepped out to Korinbo Jibiruba, just a few minutes walk away.

As we had already eaten, we didn’t try any of the food and only had room for one glass of beer. There were five or six Japanese taps, as well as Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas. Prices were a bit more expensive than Abri Ramen & Beer: Glass (295ml for ¥770-880) and Pint (475ml for ¥1080-1180). To be honest, I felt there was a little too much foam on the pour, but it was hard to tell based on the non-standard glass shape.


The atmosphere was quite nice, with lots of wood and seats for at least 14 people. Again, like Abri Ramen & Beer, I’m not sure if it was non-smoking, but nobody was smoking while we were there, and there were no ashtrays visible.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Johana
Sankt Gallen
Swan Lake
Oh La Ho
Minoh

Opening Hours:
Monday, closed
Tuesday-Friday, 18:00-24:00
Saturday and Sunday, 15:00-24:00

Location/map:
片町2−7−3 Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken



Telephone:
076-231-1239
 
Links:

Website
Facebook
Ratebeer listing

Kanazawa round up part 1: Abri Ramen & Bar

Today, the first of two posts on Kanazawa by a new blog helper. Please click here for part 2. Thank you very much to Rich for offering to lend a hand and write about some places in Kanazawa. It will be obvious it's a guest post as the photos are very nice unlike my usual ones. Sorry it's taken so long to update this blog. I had a bit of an accident over the Xmas/New Year holiday and was left one-handed for a month or so. Now I can type again, so you might see some new stuff appearing on here. There was a third craft beer location in Kanazawa, but unfortunately it was closed on the day they tried to visit. We'll add it if someone is in Kanazawa and goes there, but for your information, the place is called Craft Beer Dive Futa's and I've added it to the map, but we don't know much else about it. [Thanks to Nevitt, we now have a post about Futa's too. Here it is]. Anyway over to Rich.


Post by Rich

On a recent bicycle touring trip, we spent some days in Kanazawa, enjoying the famous market, gardens and other delights.  And of course, we wanted to find some good beer, so a quick Google search came up with three possibilities: Abri Ramen & Bar, Korinbo Jiruba, and Craft Beer Dive Futa’s. First, Abri Ramen & Bar.

In terms of food fusion, we’ve dreaming about craft beer and ramen for years... Well, our dreams have finally come true in Kanazawa!


Abri Ramen & Beer is a small, warm cozy space with six seats at the counter, and three small tables for maybe six more people.  Only open since July 2016, the owner, herself a fan of craft beer and ramen, wanted her own place to celebrate the union. She was really friendly and accessible during the visit. While we were there for dinner around 6 pm, three salarymen came and really seemed to enjoy themselves.  I can’t say for sure that it’s smoke free, but we did not see any ashtrays in the place [I can confirm that it is no smoking].

There are six taps with the following sizes and costs: Small (260ml for ¥750 yen), Medium (375ml for ¥880), and Large (510ml for ¥1000). Nice, thin glasses and minimal foam. While we weren’t able to drink them all, there was a nice, interesting combination of beers that night: Peach Weizen (Minoh), Session IPA (Shonan), Pale Lager (Futako), Weizen (Minami Shinshu), Pale Ale (Kanazawa Brewing), and IPA Harvest Brew (Shiga Kogen).


Abri Ramen & Beer have salt and shoyu ramen, both using a fish based broth based on Nodoguro, a fish locally famous.  We tried them both and enjoyed each one. There is also a small menu of other food, such as fish and chips, pickles, gyoza, tofu, potato salad (which was fantastic!).


Japanese breweries on tap when we visited: 

Minoh
Shonan
Futako
Minami Shinshu
Kanazawa Brewing
Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:
Monday, closed
Tuesday-Friday, 11:30-14:00 (L.O)/17:30-23:00 (L.O.)
Saturday, 11:00-23:00 (L.O.)
Sunday, 11:00-21:00

Location/map:
香林坊 2-12-39, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken



Telephone:
070-1074-8458
 
Links:

Facebook
Ratebeer