Please note that this is Kirin’s Craft Beer brewery, so if you are offended by macro beers, this is not the place for you.
Post by James
As soon as you see this place you are struck by its size and beauty. It seems much too big to be only a few minutes walk from Daikanyama or Ebisu and there is wood everywhere, more like a beer museum than a working brewery and restaurant. It would be impossible for a place of this scale to be run by an individual or even a small team and it should come as no surprise, (although I was actually unaware when I went), that Spring Valley is owned by Kirin (there is another branch in Yokohama).
Despite there being 215 seats (didn’t count them, it’s on the website), we had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated when we went on a sunny Golden Week afternoon. We were lucky to get seats on the outdoor terrace (this area seats 29). The terrace is basically two very big tables, so you will be sharing with other couples or groups. There is a smoking area near one of the outdoor tables but the tables themselves and the entire inside space are non-smoking.
There are six “Core Beers” and several other beers on offer (all their own). We chose to stick with the core series and ordered a taster set. These are basically an IPA, lager/IPA, a dark beer, two wit beers and a fruit beer. These all cost ¥780 for a 360ml glass. The taster set is ¥1000 and this gives you about 100ml of each of the six beers. Other beers cost between ¥980 and ¥1180 for 360ml. There is no charge, so considering the location, the prices aren’t so bad.
We were given a lengthy, and I have to say impressive, explanation about each beer when they arrived and there was the usual information you might expect with craft beers; IBU, colour and even the name of the person who made the beer. That said, all the beers were very delicate (light if you want me to be more direct) and probably wouldn’t overly impress a lot of readers of this blog. I didn’t try any of the non-core beers, but some certainly seemed a bit more promising.
The food at Spring Valley is of a very high standard and they really pay attention to beer and food pairings. Everything on the lunch menu comes with advice on which beer it would be best with and there is even a pairing set of the six core beers with a small dish to match each beer.
Overall this is an excellent place to go on a date and would be good with friends too. I found the beers to be lighter and a lot less hoppy than I normally like, but my wife rated them highly and they certainly are subtle. It would be easy for me to knock Kirin for not hopping-up the beers more, but I think they deserve praise for moving into the craft beer market and I am sure they have chosen the niche of lighter beers and good food quite deliberately. There was a constant queue to get in the whole time we were there and this shows that they have probably done their research well.
Japanese breweries recently seen on tap:
Spring Valley (Kirin)
ログロード代官山内, 代官山町 13-1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo