photo by Adam Barhan
As you know, lager is the most commonly consumed beer type in Japan. Also, it is only Japanese beer that is exported to overseas. But recently, ales are attracting hot attentions from many beer lovers thanks to return of craze for craft beers. Accordingly, the number of boutique beer bar and retail shops is increasing. The reason why craft beers are loved so much by so many people is unique rich taste that each brewery has developed. Commonly sold lagers with light dry after taste are nice, but those craft beers are something unforgettable. This column will introduce you best boutique beer bars around Tokyo that you must go this summer.
There are 20 beers from US and Japan on tap as well as 10 imported bottled beers to choose from. This is the best bar if you want to taste variety of breweries’ beer. You can enjoy delicious bar foods such as beef burger or fish and chips in relaxing atmosphere. The owner is passionate to find new taste and regularly importing beers and creating new food menu. It is guaranteed to meet new taste every time you visit there. The highest recommended brand at the moment is Pipeworks Brewing. They regularly introduce newly imported beers and new menu on their blog.
Address: 1-13-10 B-1 Jinnan, Shibuya TOKYO
Trading hours: Tue-Fri 17:00-24:00, Sat 15:00-23:0, Sun&Public holiday 15:00-22:00, Mon closed
If you like having nice drinks and rock music, visit this British bar. They all kinds of drinks like whiskey, brandy, wine or cocktail, but their selection of beer is from only the best of Japanese and British beers. Ise Kadoya and Iwate Kura (by Sekinoichi) are widely known breweries that have lots of fans in Japan. Of course, there are tasty food menu including fish and chips, cottage pie, baked potato and other traditional British foods. Request your favourite rock music from more than 6000 CDs and records and relax just like you are in the lounge at your home.
Address: Shin-iwasaki building 3F, 30-4 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya TOKYO
Trading hours: Mon-Fri 18:00-26:00, Sat Sun&Public holiday 17:00-26:00
This place is a built-in beer café in a micro-brewery right in the middle of nature of Okutama. The regular lineup includes Golden, Cream, Belgian Wheat, Session IPA and Red IPA. All are different and all have great taste. In addition, there are 3 guest taps of Japanese and foreign craft beer. The café is located in a traditional Japanese house with nostalgic atmosphere. The outside wood deck is perfect to accompany your dog when you enjoy a glass of beer. Surrounded by great nature, there are many places to enjoy outdoor activities such as rafting and cycling. This is the best bar to drop by when you are visiting Okutama area.
Address: 212 Hikawa, Okutama-cho Nishitama-gun TOKYO
BEER HOUSE KEN
Beer House Ken is a craft beer specialist in Fuchu city, with more than 300 kinds of craft beer. They normally operate as a retail and online shop, but also run paid beer tasting sessions when events are held by the Okunitama Shrine or on race days of the Tokyo Racetrack, both are in the neighboring area. At their beer tasting sessions, many Japanese craft beers are introduced as well as imported ones, it is the best opportunity if you want to discover new taste or flavor of beer. Also, you can talk to the shop staff to find the best beer to suit your taste.
BEER HOUSE KEN
Address: 2-3-8 Miyamachi Fushu-shi TOKYO
Trading hours: Mon-Sat 12:00-22:30, Sun&Public holiday 12:00-21:00, Wed closed
Just opened in March 2018. Their lineup is strictly selected by the owner himself from the best beer brands of Japan, including Hitachino Nest, Tokorozawa Beer and Echigo Beer. This shop has a growler filling station so that customers can purchase a reusable growler and take away beer they like. Growler filling is quite common in US or Canada, but only few shops do it in Japan. The shop is located in Shimokitazawa, easy access from the central Tokyo to pop in to get your favorite beer after shopping or work!
Growler Fill “TAP&GROWLER”
Address: 2-33-6 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, TOKYO
Trading hours: Tue-Fri 18:00-24:00, Sat Sun&Public holiday 15:00-21:00, Mon closed
All these boutique beer bars have great selection of brands. Japanese craft beers are normally retailed in bottle or can, but the best way to taste beer is always straight from tap. Now, summer is about to bloom then another season for chilled beer is almost there. One of the shops introduce in this column is a growler filling station, that is very rare in Japan, to fill your bottle with beer and take away. So, why not find your favorite in the shop and bring it home?