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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!

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!

Wednesday night does not have to be boring

The morning started with a plan to watch a movie and I would cook up something delicious.  At lunch time L decided we should go for an evening bike ride and grill up some burgers.  By 4 pm I was heading home because he decided we should go somewhere so we planned to hop the train and find some craft beer!  Happened to be right up my alley with that idea seeing as how all day yesterday I was on beer sites, rating beers and downloading beer apps!  So hurried home, changed, fed our cute ass little puppies and got on the train.  Decided to head to Shibuya to hit up Goodbeer Faucets and Craftheads.  I had been to both places and wanted to show him, plus Goodbeer was having happy hour, 200 yen off all pints!  Grabbed some Sbarro pizza and walked to the first stop.
On the left I had the Baird Suruga Bay Imperial IPA and on the right L had the Stone Cali-Belgique.  Ratebeer gave mine a 96 and his a 98.  I would agree.  After that we both had a Racer 5, always a good “go to” choice!

Next and final stop was Craftheads.  Here I tried the Black Racer 5 from Bear Republic with a rating of 97.  L had the Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale with a rating of 98 and ABV of 9.75%, yowza!




Bought a couple pint glasses, poured the remainder of our 2nd beers in them and hit the road.  After all it was a “school” night.  Fun times as always!
~Cheers,


Back in Japan

Starting this off with a couple older blogs I did while living in Japan.  From there I will bring us current.  :)

Sometime in September of 2013....

If you know us, you know we like to indulge in a nice craft beer from time to time.  Okay more than time to time but you get the point.  Japan is an awesome place to live but the craft beer available for purchase is scarce, however we have found a couple spots that have a few quality brews pretty regularly available.  The only downside is they are much more expensive here than in the states.  Gotta do what you gotta do though, can’t be drinking that yellow fizzy stuff they call “beer.”

To give you folks back home an idea, you will pay anywhere from like 600-1350 yen for a good quality beer.  That is $6+ for 12oz and $6 is pushing it for the lowest price.  We tend to pay more.

One most recent find that we have been to a couple times is Craft Beer & Whisky Bar Stone.  They have some brews on tap but also have a little beer fridge that you can help yourself to and they will pour.  Quiet place, good brews.  Hidden gem.

Weekend before vacation our friends Andrea and Luke invited us to a place called

BeerSAURUS

in Ikeburkuro.  They too are avid craft beer drinkers :)  This was another gem and definitely a repeat place.  Hit a couple other beer spots with them prior to that.  Always a good time.

Another cool spot is

Devil Craft

.  They just opened a second location and they have an awesome beer selection as well as awesome Chicago style pizza!  We have only been to the first location which is like 4 stories high but each floor is tiny!  The last night we went it was packed and people were drinking on the sidewalk outside.  Sucks when you have a place so packed and then you have these folks taking up two seats at the bar….

Then there is

our patio

spot on the river.  We have been to this place way too many times to even count.  Such an awesome spot and they have 2 of their own beers brewed right across the street.  This place will truly be missed once we leave.  Great beer, great atmosphere, good food, just the best place.

And it seems a popular place to take a nap during the day with the sunshine.  ;)

These are just some of the spots.  There are several more we still have to venture to.  The last several we have hit have ended up being in such cool towns.  You could just walk all the little roads and there are so many cool bars and eateries.  It is nights like those and just being out in Japan that make me want to live here much longer.  There will be more craft beer posts to come in the near future.

~Cheers