Today, a quick post on somewhere that I thought was new but actually opened last year. Shows you how up to date with things I am. Although to be fair to myself, it wouldn’t be any kind of exaggeration to say that this place is a little off the beaten track. Makuhari Brewery is in, you guessed it, Makuhari, a little way east out of Tokyo into Chiba past Tokyo Disney. The area seems to be very much a work in progress, with large areas of land empty and waiting to be developed. The future neighbourhood in which the brewery stands will apparently be based on the city of Portland. Not too sure how that will manifest itself. At the moment, the Brewery is housed in what is apparently a temporary building, (although you wouldn’t know it if you hadn’t been told) alongside a community centre and a fancy coffee shop. I don’t know if there is much of a community here at the moment though, and I was worried that it might be a bit quiet. And it was when we arrived, although the place did start to fill up on a Saturday afternoon, so I guess they must be doing something right. When the area is fully developed the brewery will move into a permanent home nearby and presumably will get a lot busier what with there being a lot more people around. Anyway, here’s what you need to know.
– Nice looking place, in spite of it being only a temporary building. Big glass windows from the bar into the brewery, a counter for eight and seats for around 30. The place feels bright, spacious and airy. Decor leans slightly more towards a modern restaurant rather than the bare concrete craft beer bar feel that is so common recently. Little bit of a walk from Makuhari station (maybe 15 minutes), but perhaps the development of the area will bring some transport links along with it if you can’t do the walk.
– Eight taps of beer, four of which were their own (Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA and Coffee Stout). Apparently this is the brewer’s first brewing position and she has been taught by someone from Portland (no idea what all these Portland connections are about to be honest). The beers were pretty tasty! I particularly liked the Coffee Stout. The other four taps were filled with US imports, although slightly amusingly, considering the dominant theme, none were from Oregon. This wasn’t the cheapest of places. In fact it would probably be fair to say that the beer was quite expensive. Their own beers were generally speaking served in two sizes, L (473ml) and S (266ml) and prices ranged from ¥1132-¥1188 for the large and ¥777-¥821 for the small. The coffee stout was served in a 250ml size for ¥918. Guest beers were ¥1404 for the large and ¥907 for the small with an Omnipollo beer costing ¥1188 for a 384ml serving. I don’t know if the pricing reflects the area or the lack of local competition or their rent or perhaps something else. But maybe it will put some off. They also serve beers to take-away, but nor sure about the prices for those I’m afraid.
– WiFi available, no cover charge and no smoking. There’s lunchtime opening on weekdays and full day opening at the weekend and on holidays. The food looked nice with a lot of variety and they seem to have music in the evenings.
All in all a pleasant experience! The beers were pretty nice, although we only stuck to the house beers as I wasn’t too interested in the imports, although they were in very fashionable styles. Perhaps the location and the price will prove to be off-putting for some, but it was definitely worth popping into and if I find myself in Makuhari again, which is admittedly not so likely, I’ll pop back. They seemed to be experimenting with bottling their beer when we were there so perhaps you’ll be able to buy their beer elsewhere in the future, but I always prefer to go direct to the source if I can. It seems to have perhaps gone a little under the radar, or maybe that’s just me, but I’d say it’s well worth a visit and would be a good stop on what would be a slightly awkward given the distances involved, but probably quite enjoyable Chiba brewery crawl.
Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 11:30-15:00, 17:00-21:30
Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 11:30-22:00
若葉 3-1-21, Mihama-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba-ken