I seem to have got back on the horse a bit recently with regards to making posts on here. I’m quite pleased about this as there are plenty of places to visit. At the same time, I’m not so pleased for the same reason. Whilst checking back on some old places, I’ve found that there are a few bars that have closed down. But this is in no way balanced out by new places, which seem to be popping up everywhere all the time. In a crowded marketplace it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out, but the place I’m talking about today actually does have a unique selling point. We’ll come on to that later. I took the opportunity of heading out to Vertere for their 4th anniversary party to pop in to Isana on the way home. It’s a long way to Vertere, and after smashing back the drinks in a nomihodai, the opportunity to break up the journey legitimately was very welcome as it gave me a great opportunity to use the toilet. Anyway, this is all too much information, and I apologize to anyone who has wandered into this blog post expecting it to be informative who has now discovered that it is informative about all the wrong things. Getting back on track, Isana is a brewpub in Akishima, which is somewhere I wasn’t really aware of till I went here. There seems to be quite a few brewpubs along the Chuo line now which is always a welcome thing. Maybe one day in about 20 years time I will manage to get to all of them. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about Isana.
– Small place with seating for ten at tables and about five at the counter. The brewery is visible through a window, but I’m not sure if they are ever brewing at the same time as they are open. Nice, comfortable feel to the place with helpful and friendly staff. The food looked good, although I have to admit I only tried the chips, which were very nice as far as I can remember. It is also pleasantly close to the station, being less than a five minute walk.
– 12 taps of beer, most of which were their own. And here comes that unique selling point, four of these taps are nitro! I don’t have any strong feelings either way about nitro, so I’ll leave it to others who do to tell you if that’s a good or bad thing. One thing’s for sure though, it’s definitely an original thing! Their beers were in a variety of styles, some of which were also pretty original (a nitro sake weizen bock!) and from some unusual guest breweries. Some beers appear on both nitro and regular keg so that could give people an opportunity to decide what they think about nitro with a side by side tasting. Beers are served in three sizes, S, M and L. We stuck with the S, so I can’t really tell you what the other sizes were, but given that the S was probably around 250ml, I’d guess that the L is US pint and the M around 350ml. This is all guessing though. (Now, I have found out and it’s 200ml, 300ml and 473ml). The pricing is done by letter, A-D, with the letter being next to the beer name on the menu and there being a useful little table at the bottom explaining things. I won’t bore you with all the figures, but will tell you that the sizes, from S through M to L range from ¥490-¥750, ¥690-¥1150 and ¥960-¥1600 respectively. Tax is added afterwards. PRICE UPDATE, Aug ’23, they’re now ¥650-¥830, ¥980-¥1270 and ¥1380-¥1760
– There was wifi, no cover charge, no smoking and daytime opening, (although in the week they close mid afternoon. Guess this suggests that it’s a nice place to have lunch). I should also mention that they have quite a lot of mentions of them being a roastery on their menu, so I guess they have a coffee thing going on too. Let’s be honest, I haven’t done a great job on the details on this one, have I? Sorry.
So, for once, a unique place! If I hadn’t got so blasted at the Vertere event I probably would have had a much more informed opinion of this place. It was certainly different to see somewhere with nitro beers (that weren’t Guinness). It was buzzing along almost at capacity on the Sunday afternoon we were there, so perhaps if you’re visiting from some distance it might be a good idea to book. Perhaps this was just because the sun was out and people wanted to booze it up though. My banging hangover today prevents me from having any reasoned opinion on the nitro thing, but I can safely say that the originality in the serving style and some of the beer styles meant that I was more than pleasantly surprised by this place. I’ve got a few more places to check out in this general area some time and I think I’d quite like to come back to Isana again, which recently is pretty high praise in this crowded marketplace! Guess I should get one of those JR passes and get ticking!
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-14:30, 17:00-22:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 11:30-22:00
昭和町 2-7-15, Akishima-shi, Tokyo