Tokyo Craft Beer

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Just finished up a long trip to Tokyo, and managed to try all the following beers. I used this blog to find out where they were

In no particular order.
My scores are probably slightly high by 1 point, but I tried to keep it comparable to Japanese style as the flavour tends to be softer.

Baird Beer
Beers: Tap
Single Take Session Ale - spicy, 7.5
Shuenji Heritage Helles - plain, 5
Rising Sun Pale Ale - good balance, 7
Red rose Amber Ale - good ale flavour, 8
Teikoku IPA - a good soft IPA, I like it, but maybe too soft for IPA drinkers, 7
Wheat King Wit - great intro, plain outro, 8.5
Numazu Lager - It’s a lager, 5
Wabisabi Japan Pale Ale - bitterness, with no flavour. No aroma, herbal taste, but very subdued, 6
Angry Boy Brown Ale - hoppy bitterness, grassy, 7
Suruga Bay Imperial Bay IPA - more to western palate, grassy notes, 7
Kurifune Porter - soft, 6
Shimaguno Stout - soft, 6
Fall Fest Lager - very slight lager taste, soft, 6
Big Red Machine Fall Classic – A marzen, hoppy, strong at 6.5%, 7
Inaugaration Ale Giebels Alt - minor grassy, slightly lager like, 7.5
Teutonic Ale - A touch of ipa to it, sweet, grassy,7
Harajuku Ale - handpump, ale flavour, bitter of motueka, east kent goldings, northernbrewer, tettnanger, 6.5
Yabai Yabai Strong Scotch Ale - its ok, says what it does on the tin 6.5
Price: Samples are Y140ml and Y1000 for 3, pint is Y1000, and halves are Y600
Japanese curry - Japanese curry can have spice! So good. 10
Bleu cheese spring rolls - so good, 9
Comments: All flavours are very Japanese palate orientated, so are on the soft side. Popular location so it’s a popular place. Plenty of ex-pats, but also plenty of locals (I assume). I managed to try all the beers on offer here. So is a full listing at the time.
Area: Harajuku

Beer Horn
Beers: Tap
White horn - Weiss beer, very good, very much like Hoegaarden. Come for this at least, 9
Pilsner horn – Slightly odd for a pilsner, creamy, wrong flavour, a 5 to style, but a 7 to taste
Dunkle horn - To style, but on the soft side, I like more sugar taste like Franziskaner Dunkel. 7
Sauerkraut is odd, has a herby flavour
Steak bites are great, but very fatty
Price: Medium Y610, large Y1260. I’d estimate medium size is 300ml.
Comments: Plenty of shandys and beer cocktales for those without taste. Also have normal cocktails. Welcome to 90s music, the good stuff though. Not a very vibrant night life area, so is a bit quieter. Styles are hit and miss, but still a worthwhile visit. Beers are actually from Otaru Brewery, in Hokkaido. Only 4-5 beers on tap, these three, an Otaru Brewery seasonal and usually an American craft beer I’m told by the owner.
Area: Asakusa

Craft beer Stand Torquise
Beers: Tap, not sure if there are bottles
Minoh Beer Belgium - Good, not like Hogaarden though, 7.5
Minoh Beer Pilsner - Not much pilsner flavour, but still good, 7
Swann lake beer porter - Great, coffee, toffee, chocolate flavours - 8.5
??? APA – Didn’t try, couldn’t catch the name, I blame old eyes.
Outsider Brewing IPA - Didn’t try
French fries with sweet chilli and sour cream - Made fresh, but still bottle sauce and cream, 6
Edamame - Ok, it’s like the rest, 7
Jerkey chicken – Awesome, 9
Comment: English wasn’t great, but you’ll work it out. Small place, seats 12, but you’d be lucky to fit 8. Not a busy part of town so should be fine.
Area: Ogikubo

Watering Hole Shinjuku
Beers: Tap and Bottles
Fujizakura Scharz Weizen - Great 8.5
Fujizakura Rauch Bock – Didn’t try
Kisoji beer Niagra pale ale - fruity hop profile, passionfruit, must be galaxy hops. Gets tiring after a while though, 8
Comments: Small place, popular with locals but that could be because Friday night, prices from memory seemed a touch high, plenty more taps and bottled beers, including American craft beers. Food available too.
Area: Shinjuku

iBeer Le Sun Palm
Beers: Tap and Bottle
Hikari Ale - Light passionfruit hops, hoppy bitterness, good, 8
Japanese Classic Pale Ale - A bit boring, 6
Lemon - Yep lemony, 5
Porter - Ok, 7
Comments: There is also food on offer. There were more beers on offer, I think 5 or 6 in total. It’s located in a shopping centre, but that just makes it easier to find.
Area: Shibuya

DevilCraft Hamamatsucho
Beers: Tap
Yokohama Pilsner - Kinda like an ale, 6
Southern Fruit Wheat - yeah, tasted like a wet sandel - 3
Ultra C IPA Citra Single Hop – I’d say it’s an APA, pretty bitter American style, not Japanese style, 7
Shonan Alt - very toasty and caramel - 7.5
Large venue, only 1 shared male toilet. Beers tried more to western style, not softened for japanese style.
Prices: Halves are between Y650-750, pints are between Y1000-1100
Food: On offer, but I only had edamame, which is served with part of the stem
Comments: A large venue, prices are high, only one male toilet, no soap at the time. I was pretty disappointed with the venue, remained unbiased on beer review. About 20 taps of beer, of which about 5 Japanese.
Area: Hamamatsucho

Hideji Beer
Beers: Bottled
Red Eye - Tomato beer, was surprisingly good, 7 (I don’t think Hiedji make this one)
Sweet Potato Beer – didn’t notice, novelty, not bad , 7
Ginger honey - Ginger flavour is there, maybe a touch watery by combing with the softness of honey, still good 6
Lager of the Sun - German pilsner, ale like, 7
White Weiss Flower – I’m not sure what to say, it’s a beer I guess, 5
Dark Lager (aka flying squirrel) - Decent, 7
They also have a cafeteria for some cheap curry rice or one of the beers. Order from the machine. Price about Y500
Comment: This is a shop for Miyazaki prefecture products. The alcohol is on the upper level; English was ok, you’ll manage, after all they accept money.
Area: Shinjuku
Access: Exit from Shinjuku new south exit and go west, near Starbucks.

Yebisu Akasuka
Beers: Tap
Stout creamy top - Nitrogen head, bland, like Guinness, but better in my mind, 6.5
Kohaku beer – An attempt at a Japanese style APA I assume. Nitrogen gas, some bitterness, and some aroma hops, 7
Potato wedges – yeah, not much you can really do with this dish, but I wouldn’t get it again, 5
Comments: What I expected of a big brand trying to take on the craft beer scene. About 5 beers on offer, Three of them from their usual range, with these two I hadn’t seen before in shops. The shop is well presented though, but not here for the décor.
Area: Akasuka

Major Label Beer
I didn’t bother rating the usual big 4 beers, we’ve all had them. There is a huge range on offer, but I’m sure they all taste malty, watery and with iodine flavour.
Asahi Koyo Special - not like super dry, more malty, seems like thats what the japanese must like in beer, 6
Asahi Bitters - lemon lime bitters flavour, 8% most likely not beer based for tax reasons, 5
Asahi Black and Orange – Orange flavour is a ‘black flavour’, can’t describe it, but I wouldn’t be buying more, 5
Sapporo White Belg – Yeah, not sure what they did to achieve this, 4
Watering hole is ******* epic. Kaz, the bartender with the long black hair always in punk rock shirts is a full blown legend. Loved that joint

Sorry for the shout - I followed the blog as I'm (tentatively, a major expense came up) going there in December and wanted to know the ins and outs of where to grab a bevvy or 5.
Sorry, Lord Raja Goomba the first, I'm not the mystery blogger you seek.
Hopefully the list I provided helps you with your study tour though. Let me know if you need any advice/tips for Tokyo. Another good option if you want to make it cheaper to try many different beers in Japan, albeit less exciting, is to find a Yamaya (やまや) store, they sell a lot of alcohol, so can get a good range of Japanese beers to try.
Yeah - mants kinda killed it for me :( - Paul Mercurio on AHB isn't as exciting as the Tokyo Beer Drinker - sad, innit?

I knew about the Yamaza stores, there's plenty under the JR stations - Liquors Hasegawa has been recommended to me by friends who've been there a few times. I tend to stay in more suburban places when I go OS, just to get a feel for places and how the locals are - I'm not a 'touristy' tourist.

It's funny - Japan was one of those places I always wanted to go to, but I ended up going to other places instead.

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