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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.

japan app.jpg

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!

pumpkin, spice and beer beer beer

Tonight I decided it was time to taste the 3 pumpkin beers I scooped up at my beer store.  First up was

BrewDog Pumpkin Head

.  Love the label to start, pretty rad.  The beer has a nice spicy aroma with a pretty autumn caramel color.  There is a nutmeg with a slight citrus taste from the start,  with a pumpkin taste more on the end.  Sometimes these types have like a sting or bite of spice but this one was softer on the throat, smooth.  

Ratebeer

gave this one a 48 and it comes in at 5.1% ABV.  Might be nice to have again on Halloween and Thanksgiving.

I made Thai pose with the brew because well, she is too cute and she too loves craft beer!

Next up is

Flying Dog Imperial Pumpkin Ale

.  This one did not have much of an aroma but it did have some flavor!  Chilled for a bit so the first couple sips did not have much flavor.  After holding the beer for a few and then tasting again it had much more spice flavor.  Again I say that temperature is key.  Craft beers like these should not be super cold.  We usually keep them on the counter and just do a flash chill before drinking.  Not too cold, not too warm, but just right.  Like Goldie Locks!  

Ratebeer

gave this one a score of 93 with an ABV of 9%!  Love me some BrewDog but between the two this one wins.  Still one more to taste!

Last up is Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale.  This one has the strongest spice flavor of all.  I think next time I would limit myself to tasting one per night but we split them so they are small tastes but with bolder flavors.  I feel full of spice and pumpkin!  This one is a 5% ABV and

Ratebeer

gave it a low 46.  I would have to try it again without having 2 prior pumpkin beers.  I didn't finish it, I will say that much.

Cheers to good beer!  Hope you all have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

What are your favorite pumpkin or fall brews?!

The BEER shop!

Here is a look at the inside of the beer store that I frequent.  Really cool place and friendly.  You can beer taste and once a month they have a get together of home brewers in the area that I am ready to attend.  Time to start buying the equipment!  



This little nook here carries the BrewDog beers on the bottom shelf!  Always my first stop.



These shelves here have all the American Craft Beer that he has.



This shelf here has some new found favorites from the Netherlands.  They are the beers on the right shelf at the top.  The brewery is Brouwerji De Molen and it does not disappoint!  So far we have tried Hel & Verdoemenis, a Russian Imperial Stout with an ABV of 10.2% which was rated a 92 on Beer Advocate and the De Molen Rasputin, an Imperial Stout with an ABV of 10.7% and a rating of 99 on ratebeer.com.  I am excited to try the other offered at the store.  These were a wonderful find.  Not sure if any stores in the states carry them but if you see them grab one...or more!  Really great complex flavors.



Tonight I am going back because he is getting in all his fall and pumpkin beers.  Super excited to try Brew Dog's Pumpkin Head.  So far it does not have that great of a rating on ratebeer but still excited to try.  I will be reporting on that later tonight!

And let me know if you have any recommendations!  If you have tried any of these what did you think?!

Cheers!





Monday! Celebrate with a brew!

No reason to be grim on a Monday when you can come home and relax with a tasty brew-ha!  Sitting outside on a cool, crisp evening with a Sherlenkerla Urbock at 6.5%.  This is a German Smoked, dark in color, smooth and amazing flavors kind of beer.

Tasted this one at our beer store while filling a growler of Stone IPA and well, we grabbed a growler of it as well.  I loved the smokiness of it!  I still can't put my finger on what food it tastes like but it's great!  Ok it doesn't taste exactly like a food but that smoky flavor and taste on the end really reminds me of something I've eaten or smelled on the pit.  Some people shy away from beers that might have a foodie flavor like jalapeño or hatch chili but man oh man, my experiences with those have been awesome!!!  Caldera Brewing makes and amazing roasted hatch chili beer that is to die for!  No Label in Katy, TX has or had a jalapeño beer I tried this summer that was ever so good.  Just have to try them.  This one today though is great and perfect for the season.  

Have you tried it? If so, thoughts?!

Cheers!





Ok so I think I figured out sorta what the flavor or smell of this beer reminds me of.  It is those damn bacon crackers I had when I was a kid.  Anyone remember these?!


A little Jackhammer to start off the work week!

I am probably going to jump around a tad in the start of this new craft beer blog of mine.  I want to talk about some things I had in the past and places I had them and continue on with my weekly tastes!

Tonight I'm having one of my "go to" beers as of lately.  BrewDog's Jackhammer.  Nice and hoppy!  If you are new at tasting IPA's this one might not tickle your fancy right away, I would say it is more for the advanced palette ;)  A bitter beer with an up-front aroma of grapefruit.  With a 7.2% ABV it gets you right where you need to be with only 1 beer.  But who has just one? Goodness it is greatness!



I love BrewDog!  They do some awesome creative things with their beers, you will probably read many-a-blog's by me about their beers as I taste new ones but will probably do a few for the many I have already tried.

Cheers!