Friday, 31 March 2017

Mitsuya's Liquor


Almost immediately after starting my digest post about places that I wasn't getting time to go to, and adding Mitsuya to that post, I found myself in Asagaya, so was able to revisit the place. I went there a few times a few years ago, but for one reason or another I didn't add it at the time. I think possibly this was because I was more focused on Japanese beer on this blog at that time. Since then though, criteria for inclusion on here has changed a lot and I now feel it's definitely worth an entry. Here's what you need to know.

- Bottle shop with a possibility to drink on the premises, tucked away a little way down a covered shopping arcade south of Asagaya JR station. Nearer to the metro (Minami Asagaya), but there's probably more, at least beerwise, towards the JR.
- Fairly large selection of imported bottles with a sprinkling of Japanese stuff in there. Sprinkling is the right word as the Japanese breweries are dotted around all the fridges. Maybe it was arranged by style. I didn't think to check. Beers are predominately from the US, but there's also a decent selection of Belgian and Scandinavian stuff.
- Drink on site available out the back (a small fee is added to the bottle price, ¥100 I think). They have two taps which seemed pretty well priced. One was a Rogue beer and one from Ushitora and both were ¥500 for one of those plastic Sapporo cups you see around at events and festivals. Decent serving for the price, I reckon.
- As well as beer, they have tons of sake and other types of booze. They serve sake by the cup to drink on site too.

So, a decent place to stock up on all types of booze if you are in the area. Have never used the drink on site option out the back, but that's a fun thing to be able to do too. Unfortunately the Japanese selection is pretty limited and pretty uninspiring, so if you're after Japanese stuff you'd be better off going elsewhere. But for imports, particularly US ones, this is a great option.

Japanese Breweries on Tap:
Ushitora

And in bottle:
North Island
Far Yeast
Baird

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-22:30
Saturday & holidays, 11:30-20:00
Sunday, 15:30-19:30

Location/Map:
阿佐谷南 1-13-17, Suginami-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-3314-6151
 
Links:
Twitter

Ratebeer listing

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Donation button

Just thought I should post something explaining my reasons for adding a donation button today. As you have probably heard me complaining previously, due to the crazy amount of new places opening, it is very hard to find the time and the money to cover everywhere that should be covered. I have always resisted adding adverts to the blog as I think it really interferes with the supposed impartiality that I like to think it has. Also, the adverts I had seen on other blogs were at best, wildly inappropriate. So, I thought the thing to do was to add a donation button on the right hand side, just below the link to the map.

Of course, there's absolutely no pressure for anyone to donate. The blog will plough on for as long as there are good, new places opening. But if it has been of some use to you and you would like to show your gratitude in a form that would quickly be transformed into beer, any donations will be gratefully received! And if you are reading this and have contributed posts or help, I'll pass on some beer love to you next time I see you once the millions start pouring in. Oh, and sorry the button graphic looks so dodgy. I'm guessing it's because of the background colour of the blog as it looks fine when you put it on white.

Cheers!


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Brew Pub Pacific NW


Post by Mark (his first one, thanks Mark!)

Beerpub Pacific NW is just south of Roppongidori, almost midway between Shibuya and Roppongi. I walked there in ten minutes from Omotesando station, so it perhaps should be considered one of the bars of Omotesando. The jazz clubs Blue Note and Body & Soul are quite nearby, so if you were going there you would have a good excuse to visit the pub. The owner, from Osaka, is very friendly, which I enjoyed, but if you want to be left alone while you drink, this may not be the place for you.


There were five taps and the same number of bottles. In keeping with the name of the place, all the beers (and one cider) were from the Pacific Northwest, except one collaboration beer. The beer was in good condition, dispensed on draft from a homemade kegerator. Bottles were ¥950-¥1250, draft pints were ¥1250-¥1450, and half pints are ¥800-¥950, yet as I was there during happy hour, 15:00-18:00, half pints were only ¥500. Taxes were included. So prices were on the high side, but average for the area. In the future, the owner’s homebrew, made in the back, might also be served.

There were 20 seats, seven at the bar, three stools facing the wall behind the bar, four seats around a sort of picnic table beyond the bar, and a round table with six seats behind that. It didn’t seem cramped at all, and was quite bright late in the afternoon. The owner said she has about ten regulars, so it doesn’t seem like it has been very crowded. The bar is decorated with various knick-knacks and a couple of Jimi Hendrix posters. Beyond the bar there were an acoustic guitar and an electric organ; the owner said she wants to have some musical performances there in the future. Food is available, and it seems very healthy: lots of beans & veggies. The chicken and waffles seemed to be the least healthy item.

Japanese Breweries on Tap:
Ise Kadoya

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 15:00-22:00
Friday & Saturday, 15:00-23:00
Sunday, 15:00-21:00
Closed one day a month. Take your chance or check their website's calendar to see which one.

Location/Map:
南青山 7-2-7, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6886-5979
 
Links:
Facebook
Website

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Ann's Craftbeer Cafe


Finally, this is part three of my Chitosekarasuyama round up. Part one was Beertoria Miagolare and part two was Novel Craft. After I’d tried to visit Ann's twice on a Wednesday, I discovered that their opening hours on their Facebook page were wrong and that I was not going to have much success going here on that day. Now you have all you need to plan a Chitosekarasuyama pub crawl. Just don’t try to do it on a Wednesday.

- Maybe the biggest out of the three Chitosekarasuyama places, but not by much. They have counter seating for maybe six and seats at tables for about twenty more. A substantial portion of the floor space is taken up by the kitchen so I’m guessing they are quite serious about their food. I only had some pickles though. They were nice.
- Ten taps of craft beer, (so the most in the area) split maybe 50/50 Japanese and imports. The Japanese selection had some stuff you don’t see around so often and was a decent selection I thought. The menu very clearly states serving size and price for each beer so all credit to them for doing that! Small size is 260ml and ranges from ¥670-900. The large size is 410ml and goes from ¥910-1300. Obviously, the imports are generally speaking towards the higher end of this scale. They also have a beer flight available. Four beers for ¥1400, the glasses being maybe 150ml. No cover charge.
- Was fairly bustling when we went early on a Saturday evening and it seems, once again, like a place that is popular with the locals. The staff were welcoming and helpful and the place is no smoking and has wifi. Another big selling point is that they are apparently open all day, all the time (apart from Wednesdays of course!), which would make it a real rarity.

Like the other two Chitosekarasuyama bars, it’s quite a nice place. I think the locals here are a bit spoiled, having three decent places to go to. Whilst there is maybe not so much to bring you here from a great distance, the fact that there are three places in close proximity means that lovers of pub crawls and the Keio line will find something worth making the trip for. I wouldn’t like to pick a favourite out of the three places, but I’d say that if you are looking for Japanese beers and a homely kind of atmosphere, Ann’s is the place. If you want imports and you like cats, go to Beerttoria. And if you’re a late night hip-and-smoky vibes kind of person then Novel Craft is the place for you.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Mojiko
Outsider
Baeren
Yamaguchi
Yagi

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11:00-24:00
Sunday, 11:00-22:00
Closed Wednesday

Location/Map:
南烏山 5-32-6, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6313-9688
 
Links:
Facebook
Website

Twitter
Ratebeer listing

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Antenna America Shinagawa Atre


Today, a quick post on a fairly new place in the middle of a department store food court in Shinagawa. Antenna America have branched out from their base in Yokohama to open a small bar and bottle shop in Atre, attached to Shinagawa station. Thank you to Davido for visiting and sending me photos and information. I popped in this morning on the way back from renewing my visa to have a look myself, but not to get a beer as it was a bit early and I have to work this afternoon.

- In the middle of the shopping centre food court on the third floor of Atre, which is found on the east side of the station, outside the ticket barriers. If you are arriving on the train from a JR line, head for the East (Konan) exit and you’ll only need to go up one floor. It’s a little bit tricky to find the escalator, (it’s near the outside of the building if you need to know), so maybe easier to just take the lift after entering Atre/Isetan. Look for 'Food & Time Isetan'.
- Apparently eight taps, but only six were on at the time of the visit. Expect to find the usual Antenna America stuff that you normally see at the bar in Yokohama, perhaps veering a little towards the safer end of their product line. As you might expect, the list was heavy on IPAs, but that’s life now really, isn’t it? All beers on tap are ¥800 and the size is probably around 350ml, so the pricing is about what you’d expect. Also there is a selection of bottles and cans (see the picture below. Again, maybe not as exciting as at the main branch in Yokohama), which you can drink in or take away for around ¥500. Beware that all of these prices are before tax, so you’ll pay a little more at the register.


- As it’s in a food court, the setting is kind of different from how you might expect in a bar. There are six seats at the bar but other than that you need to get your beer and sit at one of the tables spread around. One benefit of it being in a food court is that you can get a variety of things to eat from the other outlets whilst you’re drinking. I have heard that it might be a little tricky to get served at quiet times as maybe they are not expecting people to be drinking in the daytime. But hang around and try to catch someone’s eye.
- No smoking and no cover charge. As I might have mentioned already, it’s in a food court.

As I am yet to drink here, I’ll go with what Davido said as a conclusion. This is not really a beer geek place. The atmosphere, as you might expect, is a little different from drinking in a bar. The prices are reasonable and it’s a good option if you have some time to kill at the station. Not sure it would really be a destination though, but it does the job as a meeting place before you head on somewhere else. Given the amount of people who work in the area, I imagine it gets busy when offices close with workers on their way home, but I guess if you want to drink US imports during the day and are not so bothered about a blistering hot atmosphere, this is a good place for you. There is wifi too apparently, so maybe it’s an option for people who need to get some ‘work’ done.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
None

Opening Hours:

Monday-Friday, 08:00-22:00
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 10:00-22:00

Location/Map:
 
アトレ品川 3F, 港南 2-18-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo

I'm guessing you don't need a directions map as it's attached to the station.

Telephone:
None
 

Links:
Website

Atre Website
Ratebeer listing

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Loose ends/various places

This will be a constantly updated post with brief descriptions of places that possibly deserve to be on here but which I have no time or inclination to visit. 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.

Au Fil Des Jours - Shinbashi
Part of the Brussels chain of Belgian beer bars who despite offering a fairly run of the mill selection seem to host some excellent Lambic related events. Belgian beers with a permanent tap of Kyoto Brewing on too.
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Beer & Dining DW - Yokohama
The 'taproom' of the Double Well brewery, taproom being in inverted commas as they don't seem to be brewing yet. When they do, this will probably warrant a full entry, but till then, it's a beer cafe with some decent selections, a little bit out of the way in Yokohama.
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Beer Republic The Grub - Ogikubo
The first Grub. I imagine it's pretty much like the Grub in Yoyogi Uehara, which was posted about here
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Berg - Shinjuku
Little food and drink place inside Shinjuku station in the basement of Lumine Est. Bit difficult to find and always seems busy and smoky, but usually has some good stuff on.
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Beerich Yeast - Kinshicho
Five taps of craft (two Yo-ho regulars and three Japanese guests). Occasionally have seen interesting stuff on here.
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Beer Wars - Nihonbashi
Surely only seconds away from a cease and desist from Disney with regards to their name and logo. Some of my friends seem to like this place so I should probably visit soon. Round the corner from Nihonbashi brewery. At least seven taps. That was what I saw in a recent photo anyway.
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Brussels - Kanda
The rival Belgian bar chain to Delirium. Beers on tap are predominately very boring. Selection of bottles, but they're unsurprisingly expensive. I'm a big Belgian beer fan and have never been to one of them which says something I think. Shame though, as they seem to like beer and have some special events with very good stuff sometimes like when they did the lambic trailer.
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Brussels - Kagurazaka
See the Brussels Kanda listing above. Amusingly seem to have made a mistake with the spelling of their own name on their facebook page.
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Brussels - Otemachi 
See the Brussels Kanda listing above, but add in a permanent Kyoto brewing tap which I'd say gives it the edge over the other two places.
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Comme La Gueuze - Tamachi
Belgian dining place and bar with an averagely interesting selection but semi-high prices and a cover charge. As far as I can tell, not as exciting as I thought it would be from the name.
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Craft Beer & Wine U - Tachikawa
One of quite a few mysterious places in Tachikawa that I am unlikely to get to soon. Judging by untappd, they have a mix of Japanese craft and imports.
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Craft Meat - Tamachi
Crazy name for a beer bar. Seems similar business plan to a Vector bar. No connection apparently. That should give you enough of an idea though. Not much else in the area.
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Craft Works - Hongosanchome
Not to be confused with the many similarly named places in Tokyo, 10+ taps of Japanese craft and imports and from what I can tell a kind of Craft Beer Market feel to it, although not with the same bulk purchasing enabled low prices.
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Dragonfly Beer Hall - Kiyosumishirakawa
Seems like another Baird franchise type place with six taps of Baird beer. Usefully, it's in an up and coming place with not much in the way of beer at the moment.
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Focusrite - Ichigaya
Not the cheapest place by the looks of it! Four taps of fairly run of the mill craft, line-up listed on their website. Included only as it's in a pretty quiet area for beer.
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The Griffon - Shibuya
Been around for ages, popped in once and didn't feel like adding it, but probably deserves to be on. Large, if a little random selection and smoking allowed... Very late opening.
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The Griffon - Shinjuku 
See above. Pretty much the same as with the Shibuya branch.
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I/R Second House - Shirokanedai
Kind of fancy restaurant-type place apparently, open during the day I believe and sometimes with interesting tap takeovers. Probably deserves a full write up, but I'm always a little intimidated by the fanciness and the fact that it's food focused.
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The Legend - Gotanda
Same chain as the Griffon places above and same kind of feel. Smoking section is a different room so that's an improvement.
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Ohka The Bestdays - Nakameguro
Gyoza place with four taps of Shiga Kogen. Bottles from Gigantic too. Not the cheapest. Very near Deguchiya.
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ØL by Oslo Brewing Co. - Shibuya
Wasn't sure if this should be added even to the digest post. Pricing is ridiculous, selection dubious. But according to the brewery, they are aware and it's a work in progress so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. We'll see, but approach with caution.
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On The Marks - Kawasaki
Hotel with a Kyoto brewing permanent tap. Apparently opens in the daytime but have yet to confirm that. Heard it's a little pricy too.
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Pivoya - Yokohama
Czech bar with the usual suspects available but also I've heard with some more interesting stuff. Have been meaning to go here for ages but it's not so close to the Yokohama places I've already written about.
Website

  
S-46 Beer Market - Chigasaki
Beer and dining type place with a heavy focus on Shonan beers and Italian food. Will visit when I get to Gold 'n Bub and add it if it deserves a full write up. 
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Screamin' Hop - Kanda
Four taps of US imports from various importers. I guess the theme is IPAs looking at the name and the selection I saw on the facebook.
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Spice Diner - Tameikesanno
A curry and craft beer place that is located in the heart of salaryman territory and not open at the weekend, so tough for me to get to.
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Station Cafe BASEL - Tachikawa
A station cafe that is confusingly in Tachikawa rather than Basel. Seems to have a semi-interesting line-up of beers judging by untappd, but looks much more of a cafe than a bar. Daytime opening I guess though.
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Tameals - Shinagawa
Station bar with a rudimentary selection of craft beer. Useful location, but without visiting can't be sure if it's not just a cash-in kind of place. Definitely has the look of a big money chain. Beware, the other branches have no craft beer.
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Vector Beer Kinshicho - Kinshicho
Another Vector place but quite a long way from the other two. I guess the same kind of thing going on though, so you can check what that is here.
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Wurst Haus - Toranomon
Just down the road from the Toranomon CBM. German themed bar serving German imports and Japanese craft in German styles.
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Swan Lake Pub Edo Tamachi


Today a quick post about another Swan Lake Pub Edo in Tokyo, this time in Tamachi. The deal is pretty much the same as it is in the other Swan Lake places, I have already posted about. You can check the post on the original Pub Edo near Tokyo station here and the Yoyogi Uehara Cafe De Tete Pub Edo here. Tamachi is not an area I’m in very often so it has taken me a while to get here, but it’s finally done! Here are the details you need to know.

- Pretty small place, much more reminiscent of the Yaesu brach than the Uehara one. Found in an area of narrow streets with lots of pubs and restaurants nearby, north of Tamachi JR station. Seemed to have a mainly office worker crowd when we popped in early on a Friday evening. Lots of seats considering its small size. Apparently there is seating for 27 and this is spread between a few high tables for four and various small counters crammed into every nook and cranny. It’s an impressive feat that they could get so many seats in there. I would imagine if you are looking to visit on a Friday evening it might be worth booking in advance as it seemed quite popular.
- 18 taps of craft beer, but it’s likely that they won’t all be on. When we visited, there were a couple of guest beers on from Beer Hearn and Shiga Kogen and nine taps of Swan Lake stuff. It seems that they have five regulars on and a rotating cast of seasonals. Generally speaking, the Swan Lake beers are ¥650 for 250ml and ¥900 for 430ml. High alcohol and barrel-aged stuff is served in a smaller size (¥800 for 150ml). They also offer a tasting set for ¥1100, for which you get three 150ml glasses of your choice from their regular line up. Maybe not such an enticing offer to be honest. The prices of the guest beers are bafflingly expensive and this is something I have never quite been able to get to grips with about these places. They are ¥900 for 250ml and ¥1300 for 430ml.
- Thankfully they have a happy hour! Before 7pm on a weekday (including when they are open at lunchtime) and all day Saturday the prices are nicely discounted. The small glass is ¥500 and large ¥800, which are pretty good prices! The guest beers are ¥100 off too, bringing them a little closer to what you might play elsewhere, but still pretty expensive. If you are visiting, I would strongly suggest you do it during happy hour times and stick to the Swan Lake beers.
- Couple of other points of note. The bar is non-smoking which is nice. And there is a cover charge of ¥300 per person. However, this is not charged before 19:00 on weekdays and before 18:00 on the weekend, but you’ll pay it after those times.

A bit of a mixed bag. The prices during happy hour for their beers are pretty damn good and even when it’s not happy hour, their beers are a reasonable deal. However, the guests are crazily priced and there is that ¥300 cover charge which makes things even more expensive. If you went at 18:30 on a weekday and had a pint of Swan Lake beer you’d pay ¥800. If you went on the same day but an hour later and ordered a pint of guest beer (which are not particularly hard to find breweries and are available at plenty of Craft Beer Markets and the like), including the cover charge you would be paying double. It’s pretty hard to stomach that. But I did quite enjoy popping in at happy hour and the beer was nicer than I remember it being. Another plus point is their daytime opening, particularly on Saturday when they stay open throughout the day. During the week they close between lunch and their evening opening. As I’m not in the area particularly often, I’m not sure when I’ll be back there, but it is a nice place to grab a quick beer.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Swan Lake
Shiga Kogen
Beer Hearn/Herun (Shimane)

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-14:00, 17:00-23:30
Saturday, 12:00-23:00
Closed Sunday and holidays

Location/Map:
芝5-21-15, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6453-7928
 

Links:
Facebook
Website

Twitter
Ratebeer listing