craft beer

BREWDOG Pub Hopping - BEER FOR PUNKS

My first BrewDog brew was the Punk IPA years ago, like 2007 or 2008.  I was not a fan at the time.  Don't think I drank BrewDog for a while after that.  Roughly two years ago I discoverd Fussa Base Liquor in Japan and they had just started selling a nice selection of American craft beer as well as from other countries.  They had several BrewDog (brewed in Scotland) beer's to choose from so I gave it another shot.  Very pleasantly surprised with their brews.  It also had to do with my craft beer palate being much more advanced and into tasting a much larger variety.  Jackhammer (which I have posted about before) became one of our "go-to" IPA's.  Hardcore IPA was another we would grab just to have on hand at the house.  A couple of mine and Louis's other faves they had were Mix Tape 8 and for a short time, the collaboration brew with Oskar Blues, Shipwrecker Circus. That was an awesome barley wine at a nice 10.5%!!!  Wish they would make that treat again!  

Anyway, we have since then watched every episode of Brew Dogs and really seek out their brews.  They aren't afraid to try new things and they do get crazy with it, it's greatness!  Now that we are living in the UK we have gone to a few of the BrewDog bars...London locations were, Shepherd's Bush, Camden and Shoreditch.  In Scotland we popped in the Edinburgh bar and recently stopped in the bar in Nottingham.  They are such fun bars to go to!  Oh and little did we know there was a damn BrewDog bar in Roppongi, Japan.  Only found out after we got to England.  Shit!

Shepherd's Bush was our first try while in London for the weekend.  We had to go seeing as we love their beer, they have guest beer and their menu said Texas Style BBQ.  Not sure if it was the fact we had been walking around all day or that we had downed a couple not so light brews but the damn bbq was outstanding.  We got a plate with all the meats and a couple of sides and screw the utensils, we ate animal style and it was so damn good.  Some of the best BBQ I have ever had.  This location seemed to be a popular spot, it got very packed.  We went back a couple months later and same thing, get their early and grab your seat for the night!  Good times! 

Shepherd's Bush

Shepherd's Bush

Tasters

Tasters

 Shoreditch and Camden were the next locations we hit up between those two trips.  Not as packed but we did go during the day.  Day pints are the best!  

In October we drove up to Scotland for a few days.  I really wanted to get us up to Aberdeen to see the brewery but couldn't on this trip.  It will happen ;) Scotland is AMAZING by the way.  Would love to go back and see more.  Our first night there we walked over to the Edinburgh BrewDog bar.  It was great fun!  Tried some of the Russian doll brews, ended up buying the pack of them with a glass before we left Scotland.  Met some brothers from Norway and introduced them to several craft brews.  Needless to say it was a little slow start the next morning.  Loved it!

Most recently popped into the Nottingham bar when we drove up for the day just to see what the town was all about.  Another great place, lots of shopping and very tasty sounding restaurants.  Seemed to have quite the variety about town for food.  The BrewDog bar was kind of tucked away in what seems to be an up and coming area.  They have gaming consoles set up on the side wall with old school box TVs to play and all kinds of board games and what not to shoot the shit with friends and really just enjoy your time hanging.  Love that!  Would definitely like to go back for a day of shopping and day pints!

I rather enjoy hitting up the BrewDog bars.  Great atmosphere at all of them, friendly and knowledgeable staff, good food, games and of course AWESOME BREWS!  If you are ever around the areas look them up and see if you can find one nearby.  They are growing so chances are good you will find one.

Cheers!

Craft Beer Japan

I just want to gush about how great the craft beer culture is growing in Japan.  I lived there from December 2010 to June 2014 and saw it grow like crazy!  I couldn't have done it without the Craft Beer Japan app I had downloaded on my phone.  That was an AWESOME app to have.  It was very handy, had all the info you needed and maps to get to the brew pubs.

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Antenna America - Yokohama - WOW!  Amazing!  So much fun!  You have to check out Antenna America if you are in Japan.  They are located in Yokohama among the majority of craft beer bars.  As you enter the bar room right in front of you is a wall of beer coolers holding the finest American craft brews for your picking!  Drink them on the premises or load 'em up and take them home.  They even carry merchandise from the different breweries they carry from t-shirts and pint glasses to stickers, hats and even Stone Brewing BBQ sauce!  They always have an awesome selection on tap and some great eats to soak up the booze.  I personally LOVE their fish tacos!  They have a nice big patio for the warmer days and just opened a larger seating area on the floor above complete with a foosball table.  You are guaranteed to have an awesome time.  The staff there is so friendly and they love to talk beer! Get excited and get over there!!!!

Some of the great beers you will find inside Antenna America

DevilCraft - Craft Beer Pub & Pizzeria - Kanda and Hamamatsucho - I was at the Kanda location when they opened DevilCraft.  Kanda's location is 4 stories high with each floor holding around 10 people max I would say.  The Hamamatsucho location I frequented more often as they had one floor and a nice size patio in front.  Both locations have the same amazing American craft brews and AWESOME Chicago-style pizza!!!  I mean amazing pizza!  I would say it best to reserve a table at either location though because they fill up quick on any Friday or weekend evening.  I was here when I tried Caldera's Roasted Hatch Chili beer for the first time!  I could not get enough, it was so delicious I just wanted to eat it!  

A glimpse of the amazing pizza paired with some tasty brews

STONE Craft Beer & Whisky BarAsagaya - This was a great go to spot even for a little trip after work on a weekday.  Small and quiet but had a decent selection of craft brews.  In fact they had a little fridge that sat right by the bar that you could just grab a bottle of your liking and the bartender would pour it in a pint for you to enjoy.  Great little cozy atmosphere and loved that they had beer magazines to flip through while tasting.  

Outside Stone Bar

Beer Pub ROGUEKichijoji - Another cute little place off the beaten path in Kichijoji.  Had a few good craft brews to choose from and a friendly staff.  Love Kichijoji, such a nice town to walk through with so many noodle/ramen spots and of course lots of yakatori spots!  The smells walking through the alleys are wonderful!  Great place!

Outside Beer Pub Rogue

Popeye'sRyogoku - Another great place found using the Craft Beer Japan app.  Good selection and decent food as well.  This place gets rather packed so good to get there a little early in the evening.  They always have some very small appetizer they give you before you order a beer and it is always so tasty (whatever it is).  Also right down the road from this is one of the best yakatori spots we have been to, unfortunately I do not have a name for it to share with you :/

CraftheadsShibuya - This was actually the first craft beer bar I visited after moving to Japan. It was not easy to find the first time but once you know where it is it's no problem.  They only serve craft beer (mostly American) and all types of American Bourbon & Whiskey.  They have a pretty tasty food menu but not super cheap.  Great cozy spot and they also sell some merchandise from some of the American craft beer breweries such as shirts and pint glasses.  Definitely recommend it!

Goodbeer FaucetsShibuya - This was another place I was at for the opening and it is not far from Craftheads!  Great atmosphere, good menu (again not cheap) and great selection of American craft beer with decent happy hour prices.  They have all sorts of bottles lined along the bar top and windows all around for viewing the city streets while sipping tasty brews.  

Watering Hole - Shinjuku - Kinda stumbled upon this gem one day boppin' around Tokyo and getting thirsty for some beer.  Noticed it was new to the Craft Beer Japan app and in the area. Awesome place and again, awesome staff!  I actually never went to any sort of establishment in Japan that didn't have anything but a great and friendly staff.  Great bar and great craft beer to choose from!  They had some good things on tap and a cooler you could help yourself to and pick from a good selection and have it poured into a glass.  One of the trips over I had myself a delicious Green Bullet from Green Flash!  Awesome beer!  This one is a sipper at 10.1%, don't think you will go pounding these down.  This place I visited several times!

Bashamichi TaproomBashamichi - Had to try this place of course since it is American style BBQ pub!  Great place, always friendly people and yummy food!  One of my favorite Baird Beers is the Saruga Bay Imperial IPA at an 8.5%.  Mmmmm!  Please check this place out!

There are many more great spots but these are some of my top picks and places I went to on more than one occasion.  I have to give credit again to the Craft Beer Japan app as it is how I found all these places.  Great times and I would love to go back to them all someday.  I miss Japan greatly.  Amazing culture, amazing people, amazing food and amazing brews!  

Kanpai!

Mix Tape 8 & Centennial IPA

Mix Tape 8 from Brewdog is one of my favorite beers!  It is such a complex brew, or in the words of the head brewer Stewart Bowman, "fucking complex!"  You can definitely tell it was aged in whisky barrels.  Outstanding to say the least!  Ratebeer agrees rating it an overall 99 at an ABV of 14.5%.  I don't know what a 12oz bottle of this costs in the states but living in Japan and now England I pay around $15 a bottle, worth every penny!  Please pic one up and try if you see it.  For a full description click here.

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The next one I had tonight was Founder's Centennial IPA.  Tried this one on tap at the local pub/restaurant in town and was delighted.  Had a nice hoppy but citrus flavor.  Great floral aroma.  This IPA rated a 99 as well on Ratebeer.com with an ABV of 7.2%.  Another good IPA to have on hand for a relaxing pint after a long day on the job.

Wanna give a shout out to no label brewing in Katy, TX.  Awesome place to go sample some of their brews.  Picnic tables, food trucks, cigar stand, live music etc.  Great set up and you will absolutely have a great time hanging with friends, shootin' the shit.  FYI, their Don Jalapeno Ale is so damn tasty!  Wow!  Wow!

Definitely relaxed after having both, although we shared the Mix Tape 8.  I highly recommend both of these great beers!  

Cheers!

CAPT California Blk IPA

Trying the CAPT California Blk IPA tonight from Ruhstaller in San Jose, California.  I picked this one up soley on the look of the label.  Hadn't heard of this brewery yet but it rated well on Ratebeer.  My first sip and it instantly tasted familiar.  Darker in color but I definitely got a Green Flash West Coast IPA taste to it with a darker finish.  Started looking into the brewery for some more background since this was the first I heard of them.  Here is a little history from the Ruhstaller website or you can follow the link by clicking here...

Brewing beer is what we were made to do…it’s what we were born to do…it’s what we did best until the government came and killed the best thing we had and replaced it with itself!

The leading brewer of this era was Captain Frank Ruhstaller. A Swiss marksman who emigrated to Sacramento as a young man, helped found the largest brewery west of the Mississippi, and at the age of 35, in 1881, opened his third Sacramento brewery, his crown jewel: The Ruhstaller Brewery.

It was Sacramento’s, and arguably California’s, first premium craft brewery – producing Steam beer 15 years before Anchor Steam was founded.

Captain Frank Ruhstaller embodied the Spirit of California.

I thought that was pretty interesting.  Reading about CRAFT BEER breweries and how they began or how they produce is much more facinating that reading about ANHEUSER BUSCH.  I am enjoying the journey of learning more about brewing and craft beer and definitely love tasting!  

Hedgie wanted to be photographed with a great brew.