Hidden away in a back street in Koenji is Bakushu Kobo, a brewpub open for just a couple of years. They brew on site so the beer is lovely and fresh. Recent visits have seen the number of choices increasing; last Saturday they were 5 different beers of their own, Amber (two versions), Cream Ale, Blond, Strong Ale (2 versions, one with fresh hops) and the intriguing Hot Ale, which to be honest I haven’t tried yet. Maybe in the winter. Have also seen Red Ale and a Belgian White on recent visits, so there is some rotation. [Update: visited this evening and they had swelled to nine of their own beers, including some beers in very different styles to their usual ones]. The different versions are a sign that the beers are still a work in progress, recipes being tweaked each time. Saying that, they are pretty nice already as far as I am concerned. Along with their own beers they also have a few macros, but let’s be honest, we’re not interested in those.
Beers come in two sizes, a 360ml cup (which is plastic) or a 400ml joki, (glass mug). As there is not much difference in size, I think it’s always better to go for the joki and drink out of a glass. Prices for the jokis range from a bargain ¥390 for the Blond to a still reasonable ¥790 for the fresh hop Strong Ale. They also have a decent food selection, and some stuff that is suitable for vegetarians. The highlight is probably the bacon/ham that you get 4 big chunks of, and your own mini grill for you to cook it at your table to your taste.
Bakushu Kobo is very much in a residential area and this might explain the strange opening hours. It is also quite popular with locals, so sometimes it can be difficult to get in. Probably best to book or come around opening time. Along with tables, there is a small counter area so if there are one or two of you, you might be lucky and be able to squeeze in somewhere.
I have to say, I really like this place. Their beers might not be as in your face as some breweries are now making, but they are really tasty, and given that most of them are around 5%, they are definitely good for a session. They have recently opened another branch in Asagaya, one stop along the Chuo line, but I have yet to visit that one.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Koenji (of course!)
17.00 – 23.00 Wednesday to Friday
15.00 – 21.30 Saturday and Sunday
Closed Monday and Tuesday (although might be open if these are public holidays)
高円寺北2-24-8, Suginami, Tokyo 166-0002
From Koenji station, leave via the North Exit. Standing in the North Exit, look across the square and go down the right hand of the three roads you see opposite the station. Carry on at the first junction, past a Pachinko place and at the next jucntion you will see Olympic on the right hand corner. Turn right here and then take the second left (the road after the mini car park). Carry on down this small side street and just before the next junction you will see the bar on the right hand side.